The cover page of this issue responds to the contents in the form of a comic strip conceived by Julien Mercier, the designer of OAR. The work seeks to restore the author’s impressions of Adrian Rifkin’s lecture, decoding and recoding it in accordance with textual and visual comic tropes.
Taking as its starting point a lecture-performance by Adrian Rifkin, this prologue issue addresses the idea of response, and is structured by a proposal to create a rejoinder, answer or reaction. The responses show the ways in which one event may set in motion a wide range of new ideas and propositions.
A performance-lecture by Adrian Rifkin which has been transcribed by different audience members. The lecture covered the themes of research and loss, footnotes and beginnings, a previous lecture, archives and childhood memories, film sequences, finding without looking, voice, visits and Visitation, the history of art, and Tinker Bell.
Considering the role of ekphrasis in art history–together with the role of looking away–Naomi Vogt’s essay upsets disciplinary divides between seeing and making meaning. How might research outputs (such as that offered by Rifkin) treat objects as agents rather than products, and make them crystallise, like a musician’s interpretation of a score?
Using a quotation by Adrian Rifkin as her starting point, Anita Paz’s essay opens a philosophical exploration around the nature of response. Conceptualising the response, exploring its possible modes, means, and courses, this discussion highlights a larger question around the activation of moments of thinking: how are we to think new thoughts?
Based on Rifkin’s promise not to use the archive, Jessyca Hutchens addresses expectations of revelation held around research. She weaves together the seduction and the asymmetries of the archive, from the gaps in colonial sources to documentary discoveries romanticised by cinema, in an essay that advocates getting lost before filling dossiers.
Nina Wakeford reworks a section of The Dialogue of the Carmelites (Poulenc, 1956) to interpret and reanimate the words of Adrian Rifkin. The result is a manipulated image of the score, and a soundwork sung by the artist Hannah Jones.
This photography series responds to Rifkin in the form of a personal urban rippling. Arturo Soto selected lines from the lecture, not to illustrate them but as an attempt to find their resonance in the aftermath and broader environment of their presentation. Decontextualized, the lines resurface in the experience of Oxford’s urban landscape.
Dimitri de Preux and Anna Tarassachvili respond to Rifkin’s film narrations, intended to replace archival and academic rhetoric. Their essay discusses the politics and authority of this enunciation that ‘places knowledge into the present’. A film program follows, with a film selection that envisages ‘film’ as one of the languages spoken by humans.
Adrian Rifkin offers thoughts on Issue Zero and some of its underlying themes, in conversation with Nina Wakeford.
Colours of flowers are identified in Anne Tallentire's moving image response. The natural and material world are tenuously brought into play with visual reference to modes of contemporary industrial colour classification and a fragment from Samuel Beckett’s stage notes for his 1969 short play Come and Go.
Acting on his compulsion to write about the sound of a paintbrush, Ewan Wallace thematises ekphrastic description more generally: in its inherent abstraction, he sound of a paintbrush encourages us to think experimentally about written description in the visual arts, and its inevitable betrayal by language.
Carlo Crivelli’s The Vision of the Blessed Gabriele is explored in person within the gallery space and online through a digital image. This experiment in art writing takes the action of looking as the sole form of research, highlighting ways in which our interpretations of objects and images vary depending on the context of an encounter.
A sound piece by Joseph Noonan-Ganley proposed as a response to Adrian Rikfin’s performance-lecture, ‘On Writing the Last Line First’.