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This two part document opens with a long introductory essay about some of the many and often paradoxical (if not contrary) cultural values ascribed to the concept of nothing by radical art in the modern and contemporary periods. The second section offers a preliminary bibliography of key readings that frame our ideas of nothing and nothing-ness as they relate to contemporary art practice, divided into three sub-sections: ‘Thinking Nothing of It’ gathers modern philosophical perspectives from various cultural traditions on the idea of nothing; ‘Nothing to Show for It’ gathers the opinions of art theorists and historians who have considered the dilemmas of representing nothing in the context of the plastic arts; and ‘The Empty Set’ gathers example declarations and statements of action by artists and curators who have tried to produce absences, removals, voids and nearly too little.
Throughout, choice pull quotes and a range of cross-references that link the visual, sonic, performance and literary traditions through a shared commitment to conceptualist making, map a clear genealogy. This is ‘A User’s Manual’, to be freely downloaded and freely expanded by anyone who so wishes.
Nothing: A User’s Manual
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