Tuesday night at For Your Art, Travis Diehl spoke of certainty, with certainty. His manner left room for interpretation, and this might be the value of certitude: it offers a fixed point in the fluid world of ideas. Prism of Reality gathers writing by artists in the moment of their thinking and working, and it publishes these features and reviews every nine months, thereby staking a claim that these ideas are important and will have value beyond their immediate, conversational or practical purposes. Such is the plan.
Prism of Reality will also create a fixed milestone, no – a menhir – for examination along the intellectual path of anyone who reads it – disparate, separated in time and far-flung though these paths might be. This is one among the pleasures of the printed word: It remains. Another pleasure of books, and one that is becoming increasingly important, is the unique physical presence of the object – the feel of paper as one turns pages, the sense memories this act of touching strikes up.
The small volume that Diehl publishes is luxurious. The cover is silkscreened, the editorial is hand-signed by Diehl, and color postcards of work by the writers are slipped between the pages to serve as illustrations. The postcards, and the signature, feel important: postcards can be messages from exotic places, they imply larger stories than they can contain, when I receive one I am excited and curious and I feel touched by its sender. Along with the wet signature, the postcards make me feel part of a conversation, an intimate, even inspired, exchange between an elevated me and an equally idealized editorial voice; these removes from mundane reality reassure me that reading is important and, perhaps counter-intuitively, that people are behind the voices. It takes people to be inspired.
The image above links to an Ebay page where you may purchase a copy of Prism of Reality. I hope it’s obvious that you should.
(images, from the top: cover page of a review by Jon Rutzmoser with Robert Cuoghi postcard, (postcard photo by Alessandro Zambianchi); detail of editorial by Travis Diehl; page from transcribed and edited conversation between Meghann McCrory and Michael Parker with Meghann McRory postcard (postcard photo courtesy the artist); same with Michael Parker postcard (postcard photo by Lisa Anne Auerbach); page from Steve Kado review of Simon Fujiwara show with Simon Fugiwara postcard (postcard photographer uncredited); Prism of Reality on my balcony table.)