Issue 1 : Neon

Winter 2015


Territorial Trappings

Totem & Taboo [ artist's writing, documentation ]


Reading the Sign [ essay ]


PRL Neon [ artist sketch folio ]


You Belong Here [ documentation ]


Alight in Darkness: or, a Purpur in the Torpor of the Transcendental Real [ poetic essay ]


Kendra Place, Cam Scott


Buck Doyle


The first issue of Art and Wonder magazine gathers around the sign of Neon. “Discovered” in the final years of the 19th century, the noble and volatile gas, once hypothesized as constituting the atmosphere of Pluto, is rarely found on Earth, having been depleted here since the early days of the Solar System. This might or might not explain the impetus to capture neon in glass, sparking city signs and pop-modern imaginations, forever altering urban cultures. Twentieth-century artists wrested neon away from advertising toward aesthetic projects critical of consumerism — Arte Povera or Conceptualism. In this century, neon as art finds singular expression through the practices of Tracey Emin, Leila Pazooki, Claire Fontaine, Divya Mehra, and Duane Linklater, among others. The contributions to this issue, while invoking specific histories, are each somehow new, negotiating neon in order to recall as much as to anticipate.

Tanis Maria S'eiltin includes neon as an integral element of her mixed-media installation and sculptural works that draw on her Tlingit culture. For this feature, curator Mike Patten locates the meaning of trade in her installation Territorial Trappings and S'eiltin provides anti-colonial context, implicating popular Freudian psychology, for Totem & Tabu.

Based in Berlin, Przemek Pyszczek offers sketches for future works, studies of extant signs sourced throughout the historical region that informs his current research, the Polish People's Republic.

Tavares Strachan imagined his most recent neon sculpture for Prospect.3 in New Orleans, where the medium gains a fluid dimension, both sublime and critical, documented here in a portfolio of temporary views.

Non-musician Cam Scott contemplates neon in an essay on the blurring of art and philosophy, discussing Hito Steyerl's Adorno's Grey and La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's Dream House in New York City.