I had an incredible conversation with Ed Steck about The Garden: Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulation (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013), a suffocating book of holograms, hauntings, and tunnels of code.
PC: “Exploration is a language of progression.” I open this book. I start at the beginning. By page 11, I am referred to the Appendix at the back of the book. I have to read the fine print if I want to advance, right? (Advancement is key, said someone important once and probably on TV.) The beginning of this book—this Garden—seems to also be the end. At this point I feel like I’m following instructions. I feel like a far less subversive reader than when I began (like when I was trying to decipher the censored text). I’m definitely following instructions now. Why? Because I desire something? Why do I want to go exploring? I want to advance because advancement leads to answers, right? Why am I persisting, Ed?
ES: You are persisting because being mechanical is natural. Naturalism is a mechanism. As I mentioned earlier, The Garden, at times, is a translation of perception, and in this instance, it is a translation of form. The Garden, the book, is a map, a directory. I wanted it to be read as a manual. Or, to appear to be able to be read as a manual, rather. And, to advance through a manual, the reader has to follow the rules of the system created by that document. It marches you through the confinement of that reading experience. It’s weird, because I realized that later on in the process of writing it – the inclusion of the appendix was something to contain the narrative of the text, to contain the landscape within it. It’s evil to be lead through your own mind, to have direction decided for you. And, I think this is where desire fits in, to break out of that mode of instruction.
[Click] to continue reading the interview over at The Fanzine