The latest edition of The Thing reminds me a lot of Bruno Munari's libros illegibles, or unreadable books...Author Jonathan Lethem has decided to make absurdist, unusable glasses for his edition of this cool literary/art project. A pair of glasses with text printed on the inside of the rims? What to do with the next issue of The Thing Quarterly, other than stare with wonderment at the oddity of such an object? Is it art? Literature? Just a Thing? Subscribers will get these strange lenses via mail, while the rest of us can get them at Printed Matter, during the launch for The Thing's new issue. Here are the details:
Printed Matter is pleased to announce an issue launch and signing for THE THING Quarterly, issue 7 by Jonathan Lethem. The launch will take place on Tuesday, September 15, from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at Printed Matter, which is located at 195 Tenth Avenue in New York City.
The issue, which is titled “Chaldron Optical System,” consists of a clam-shell case, a care and maintenance instruction booklet (written by Jonathan and the editors), and a pair of glasses with text embedded on the inside arms. THE THING is an experimental publication founded by San Francisco based visual artists Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan.
Lethem’s issue is based on his ongoing interest in “impossible objects.” In describing his work on this issue, he says, “I've finished a novel, to be published in October, called Chronic City, in which the object in question is called a ‘chaldron’. During the years of this book's writing I found myself by chance repeatedly drawn into collaborations with a series of other artists or art-presenters (see: Jennifer Palladino, Matthew Ritchie, and THE THING) and in each case I used it to further the foolish postulate that "chaldrons" were a part of the world outside the novel, an error shared by my book's characters.
The Thing is "a periodical in the form of an object." They do four editions per cycle, and subscribers get artful objects in the mail made by interesting people. Miranda July's vinyl pull-down windowshade seems like it would have been a past highlight. Upcoming artists and writers participating include Chris Johanson, Starlee Kine, and Ryan Gander. I am intrigued by The Thing Quarterly and wish them all the best with Lethem's edition.