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...Across the room, lines of writing creep over the windows. Their author Rachel Smith warns me of their latent power to infinitely expand. The marks, containing definitions of definitions, seek to explain away the meaning behind meaning itself and in so doing position a unique mixture of banal words beside wondrous phrases. Punctuated by the semi-colon this work has no foreseeable end. It is process which exemplifies the ambition of the artist: to create ad infinitum. With no full stops the work threatens to outlive its creator, ploughing on relentlessly. In fact the idiom to plough on links Smith’s work to the interests of a text by Jacques Derrida found in his 1967 book ‘Of Grammatology’. Derrida writes on a matter he terms “writing by furrows”, a furrow being the line the ploughman traces with ox and plough. Arriving at the end of each furrow the ploughman does not return to the point of departure, but rather proceeds in an economical fashion by turning ox and plough round to continue in the opposite direction. Derrida notes that such writing, conducted to the turn of the ox (boustrophedon), was later abandoned (by the Greeks for example) in favour of the hand. For, arguably, it is easier to read by furrows than write by them.
The distinction made between reading and writing dictates a large portion of Smith’s own work. Marks made across the windows delineate the deterioration of each furrow as it suffers under the manual labour of the hand, gaining signs of fatigue at each line’s end. But the visual economy of reading is equally overwhelmed. Faced with a sea of language the reader must choose to select portions of the text at random, focusing not on the order of words but on their visual potency as a whole. Respite points within the text usually offered by full stops are entirely lacking. A strange metamorphosis takes place; punctuation leaves the terrain of the written word and finds its home in the author who, only upon ceasing to be, provides the final act of execution that is the full stop.
Returning to the opening question Where is the work? I find myself in a factory once again, a line of constant production before me and yet no final product in sight. Smith’s writing confronts the expectation that an artwork is ever truly complete...