An Envoy Reader / 63TL
An Envoy Reader by Ross Birrell, published by LemonMelon, 2014
Softback in envelope, 2 x 64 pages + letter, edition of 200 copies
This book assembles images, texts and documents corresponding to Ross Birrell’s Envoy series of site-specific actions – ongoing since 1998 – where a relationship with utopian ideas resonant in books and other objects is structured around the gestures of gifting, reading, and throwing.
Envoy combines the individual and the ideological in a series of actions and interventions which explore the role of the artist as a potential courier of meanings and messages – an envoy sent by an unknown power for an unspecified end. Undertaking arduous journeys in order to gift a book to a symbolic institution, or to throw a sealed package into the sea, or quietly reading a utopian text in a related location, these solitary and poetic gestures are by turns desperate, ludic, ironic, apostatic, contemplative and redemptive, and simultaneously articulate and challenge the reported loss of the utopian grand narratives of modernity and democracy.
The book includes documentation of Envoy actions, a letter by Lars Bang Larsen, and fragments of readings of the work of Thoreau, Mauss, Heidegger, Althusser, Derrida, Pynchon and others.