Ian MacTilstra

Somewhere between conceptual text-based art, structural poetry, and inspired by linguistic studies of globalized commodity-based trading languages in antiquity, exists this experimental project: an attempt to convey a sense of narrative within such language. That it fails to do this in any conventional sense of “narrative” is a feature of its deconstruction of consumerist language, and relating more directly to what has been termed “social commentary and observation” (Paper Radio, Melbourne), while being disguised as a poetic exploration of emergent linguistic systems of globalised trade. The shifting dynamic between the linguistic and the discursive, between the material effects of language and the meanings it subtends, makes this work both visually unconventional and semantically compelling.

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Self published
in, 406 pages, black and white
Edition of 2048
price varies

Available from Spartacus Books

Described as “having this real ability to take outlandish ideas and pull them off,” Ian MacTilstra uses a wide range of traditional, non-traditional, and industrial means to juxtapose the ‘crude’ with the sophisticated, merge forms, and emphasize mediation. His work encompasses a variety of strategies that subvert ordinary experience, including the structural manipulation of the intrinsic properties of mediums and their societal associations, the reorientation of the gaze from its commodified relationship to the subject, and the alteration of content from classic narrative structures, particularly as used in documentary filmmaking. In 2007, he founded “the Dustbin,” a provisional autonomous non-juried venue for alternative and emerging work in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighbourhood. His work has been shown in North America, the UK, Europe, Australia, India, Pakistan, and Japan, and he has studied psychology, philosophy, computer science, engineering, and visual arts in various institutions.