Antonia Hirsch
Komma (after Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun)

One of the two 2011 ABotMs!

Komma (after Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun) by Antonia Hirsch is an artist’s book with accompanying essays by Maria Muhle and Kristina Lee Podesva.     The companion piece to a 16 mm film installation by the same title, Hirsch’s book is based on Hollywood scriptwriter Dalton Trumbo’s seminal anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun. As a modified facsimile of the original book’s first edition, the project re-imagines Trumbo’s novel through its syntactical idiosyncrasy, the omission of all commas.

The word “comma” is derived from the Greek komma, meaning “something cut off,” reflecting eerily on the plight of the fictional Johnny—a young American soldier who has been brutally mutilated as a result of combat.

Addressing issues of silencing, censorship, and instrumentalization, the project is refracted through the original novel’s historical context and Trumbo’s personal history. Komma proposes to represent the suppressed or “negative space” of the novel by isolating the text’s missing commas, rendering visible a subtext that the author made traceable only through an absence.

ABotM seal of approval

Published by Fillip
ISBN: 978-0-9738133-9-5
140mm x 203mm, 316 pages + 16 page pamphlet pp, black and white offset, perfect / cloth bound, foil stamped, 2011
Edition of 500
40 CAD

Available from Fillip

Antonia Hirsch lives and works in Berlin and Vancouver. Her practice consistently engages with systems—geographical, quantitative, syntactic—that underwrite the most basic understandings of the world. She questions the often invisible hierarchies of these epistemological structures by relating them to more familiar territory: embodied experience. Her work has been exhibited at Program, Berlin, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Power Plant in Toronto, and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, among others. Her work can be found in public collections such as that of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry, Miami Beach. More information on the artist’s practice can be found at

Publishing under the auspices of the Projectile Publishing Society and based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Fillip provides a forum for critical discussion within and between communities engaged in cultural production and criticism in Vancouver and beyond. Fillip publishes books, artists projects, and a periodical exploring contemporary cultural issues. In addition to its publishing activities, Fillip organizes talks, workshops, screenings, and other related activities in Canada and abroad. Recent book publications include Autogestion, or Henri LeFebvre in New Belgrade (in collaboration with Sternberg Press, Berlin; Landesgalerie Landesmuseum, Linz, Austria; and the Vienna and Vancouver-based collective Urban Subjects) and Judgment and Contemporary Art Criticism (in collaboration with Artspeak Gallery).