List-Making as Art


Ding Ren has the perfect gig: Typing as performance art. She just held an exhibition yesterday, but will perform \”Observations with a Typewriter\” again on August 20th as part of two-month \”Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.\” Here\’s a description of Ren\’s exhibition/performance:

\”Ren will sit at a desk in the gallery space generating lists with a typewriter. The content of the lists will be gathered through an on-the-spot observation of visitors in the gallery space that is akin to an ethnographer performing a field study. These observations may include, but are not limited to: what visitors are holding in their hands, untied shoelaces, bits of overheard conversations, and the color of visitors’ shirts. The observed content will be recorded through typewritten pages that will spill out onto the floor of the gallery for visitors to read. Like the lists already on display, the lists Ren creates in real-time are meant to highlight potential patterns and find meaning in the easily overlooked, near-nothings of everyday life. Past records kept by Ren include an observation of falling objects, red dots, stray pennies on the street, and other people’s reading material on public transportation.\” ~ The Pinkline Project

Part one in this series began February 5th, and it looks like the whole collection might be available through September. Fascinating business, actually. Take a look at Smithsonian\’s online exhibit HERE, or order the companion book, Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists, although I\’m sure neither will come close to that live performance. If anyone is handy to DC and can make that trip, be sure to let us know.

As a side note, that folded printer paper is for the birds. Clearly Ren hasn\’t yet experienced a fine BAROP.

In honor of all things Smithsonian and list-y, I\’m proposing we all typecast a list or two to celebrate the everydayness of common writing. Besides, it\’s an excuse to make lists I don\’t have to follow.

List on, typosphere!

When a Lady Drops Her Hankie…


Yes, with a spritz of starch you can roll that antique handkerchief into the typewriter. With a drawer full of these I\’ve only just begun. These are perfect for lines of poetry, quotes, or cryptic messages. I feel a Silent Type entry coming on, so look out.

Thanks to my friend Stephanie who found the inspiration for this at the lovely blog 52 Flea. Steph knows where the good stuff is and always tells me.

Silent Type: A Retrotech Journal

Fresh Ribbon

If you listen very closely you can hear a collective oooh-aaah in the typosphere. Strikethru Publishing’s first volume of Silent Type: A Retrotech Journal made its way to the mailboxes this week and I’m beside myself with typewriter love. Forty-three pages of full-color photography and divine collage in addition to fiction, poetry, and essays – in full typewritten glory.

It’s a strong read and a stunning tribute to the retrotech in all of us. Strikethru, take a bow.

No, take two.

Volume I ran out as quickly as it was printed, although there’s talk of a second printing and a nudge here and there toward Volume II. If you can’t live another minute without having a copy in your hands, let Strikethru know. Tell her Monda sent you.

Hephaestus Forges Love

Fresh Ribbon


I figure ol’ Hephaestus for a typewriter man. In another time, he might have made a fine repairman of all things bent and broken, an artist in iron and steel. Why, there’s no telling what kind of machines we’d be knocking on.

Maybe he needed a little anger management training. Maybe he wouldn’t have been quite prepared for the women’s movement. I’ll bet he could fix fix a few of my typewriters, though. There’s that.

And Aphrodite? She could hold her own.

Robotic First Days of School, and a Gift

Fresh Ribbon

Everyday Correspondence

On a side note, I’ve spent a good portion of the weekend with The Perfect Grandson, who suffers from a cold that is only made better by watching Wall-E over and over again. If you’ve never seen it, go rent this one immediately. Saving the planet through robot love. Delightful.

(This typecast is brought to you on Sister Agnes of the Curlicue Script, a 1958 Tower President.)