Christina McPhee: pharmakon library magic

Pharmakon Library is an ongoing series of graphic folios created and curated by Jessica Silverman with Christina McPhee. The folios comprise a series of open works by artists who address, through image and/or text, the principle of critical reversability, or proximity of poison and cure. ...

---its one of those mcluhanesque things: the content is determined by the interaction of the artists with the general notions of recipe, poison, antidote, paint, talisman, gift, drug. So the content emerges via the transaction rather than from a default or a priori position. By leaving it up to the artists I think the library retains potency as itself a pharmakon, because the artists have to engage with the topic from an inside/outside position, right on the edge of the personal, and yet not- else it would not be a spell or a paint, something that goes over something else, or covers/reveals something else. A visual text that moves between error, errancy, exile, never quite home (so it's part of that unheimlich quality we feel when we encounter the strangely familiar). It's a bit like Bergman's fascination with the theatre. A little world which is actually much safer than the cruelty outside its walls; but perhaps in the proximity of the theatrical to everyday life a kabbalistic reordering of events could happen, as in his "Fanny and Alexander." (1982) My imagination takes me back to the lost Alexandrian library, which was purported to be filled with manuscripts including many items of an incantatory nature from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Similarly then the Pharmakon Library is like a networked incantation, or even a kind of seepage of white magic into the interfaces between spirit and matter, between the virtual network and physical spaces. Also there is a really interesting idea implicit in this, that the possible/probable opacity of meaning in the images is a kind of springboard towards a making of meanings on the fly on the part of the visitor- nothing indeed is fixed, everything is relation. There is no correct interpretation nor is there correct content vs incorrect; also there is no administration of content according to morphologies beyond these extremely fluid and practically nonsensical categories of recipe, poison, antidote etc. Why do this ? well the image can function, i can dream so anyhow, as a kind of immanence- I am an iconophiliac, i like the way that images apparently have a potency beyond conscious ken.