A CURATORIAL STATEMENT
We founded Container in early 2017 and release work with two different intentions.
Our Multitudes series focuses on finding objects that exist in the world (for example, lunchboxes). We send these objects to literary and visual artists whom we admire for their work and contribution to artistic communities. These artists add, subtract or alter whatever value they see in the object. Ultimately, we see this more as “commissioning” than “curating,” though there are questions central to the curatorial process (i.e. What objects have cultural significance or value if modified? What does such modification mean?).
“Open Container,” our open reading period, focuses on artists who have a text and a strong idea for making a literary object. Again, we find questions key to the process of choosing the four manuscripts we publish from this series each year, questions such as (but not limited to) How much does the text object pitched convey a personal context? What about an emotional context? Is there a fictionalized component? Does it surprise or delight?
We edit the text and do the making to turn these manuscripts into reality. For our first work, Wided Khadraoui’s Tem, we folded 600+ origami gemstones, and cast the same number of plaster containers. For our upcoming work, Dave Drayton’s E,UIO,A, we’ll be handcrafting 900 letters as part of an epistolary collection in the form of a box of ephemera/keepsakes. In essence, we collect and produce texts which want to live outside the conventional boundaries of the book.
Wided Khadraoul’s Tem
Jenni B. Baker is the projects director for Container. Her Oulipo-generated chapbook, Comings/Goings, was published by Dancing Girl Press. In her current project, Erasing Infinite, she creates poetry from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, one page at a time. More at jennibbaker.com.
Douglas Luman is production director for Container, art director at Stillhouse Press, head researcher at appliedpoetics.org, a poet, book designer, and digital human. His first book, The F Text, was released in Fall 2017 on Inside the Castle.