Individual Work

judsoN’s infinite “Essay” explores the construction of authority, the evolution of narrative space, linguistic integrity, and conceptualizing systems in general, through an arbitrary, essay-generating template. Each time we visit the essay we encounter a newly-generated entity with different random references to iconic post-modern theorists (e.g., Delueze and Guttari) and linguists like de Saussure. With each refresh we get a new, randomly-generated title and author, complete with an Ivy League email address. As we scroll down the piece, this initial authorial instability is compounded by a visual and linguistic one, as well.

The work that judsoN undertakes here is closely related to other pieces, such as Kate Armstrong and Michael Tippett’s "Grafik Dynamo!" and meme-generating templates like "Market- O-Matic" . "Dynamo" and "Essay" are two projects that beg the reader to organize, categorize—to assemble an impossible narrative. Both pieces simultaneously utilize text and image to disrupt the reader’s expectations. Kate Armstrong in her introduction to "Dynamo" writes, “Together, [the images and text] create a strange, dislocated notion of sense and expectation in the reader, as they are sometimes at odds with each other, [and] sometimes perfectly in sync.” It’s this tension that Armstrong articulates so well that is at the heart of judsoN’s essay—the arbitrary nature of the meaning-making process.

However, what makes judsoN’s piece particularly enjoyable is its humor. The essay becomes an ironic critique of academia—particularly its affection for buzz words and jargon, e.g., “deconstructive," "the performative," "transdisciplinary," "subverting,” and the like. These words, when removed from their proper contexts, are emptied of meaning much more quickly and thoroughly than more familiar ones and suddenly appear as they would to a reader without the benefit of specialized, academic language.