Books, Brian Dettmer, Jorge Borges, and “Antisocial Media”

The universe is a library, existing ab aeterno—from time immemorial—in Borges’ allegory of “The Library of Babel.” The library is an infinite architecture of hexagonal galleries whose shelves creak under the weight of books dusty and bound with gloom of incomplete knowledge. Leagues of searchers patrol these galleries, seeking the Total Book; the perfect medium that answers all, unites all. But these are a superstitious many, driven by the popular hope that finality follows form. Brian Dettmer’s Antisocial Media at Chicago’s Packer Schopf Gallery reverses this dogma with a redefinition of form itself. In this gallery, books—the linear media of specious certainty—become bent and bowed, such that finality here becomes, in Borges’ words, one “of insensate cacophony, of verbal farragoes and incoherencies.”

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