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Project Statement

by J. Drucker

This book was created as a New Year's greeting at the beginning of 1982. The text was extracted from Simon Frith's The Tongues of Man, a short study of the history of language. The procedure for extraction was to take every other word, then every third, fourth, fifth etc. in sequence out of each successive section or chapter. This produced the short texts in the book. These were set in Stymie light and printed letterpress. The images were made through successive impressions all accumulating in sequence, some from paint, ink, tissues, twigs, cardboard, and anything else capable of making a repeatable mark.The images were created at the time that I was beginning to do event drawings, and they are definitely of that deconstructed and dynamic variety.

Tongues: a parent language

Johanna Drucker

title note: The title, "Tongues" was the key word in Simon Frith's, "The Tongues of Man," on which the text is based and from which it is derived. The subtitle puns "a parent language" and "apparent language" in playing with historical and contemporary linguistic systems. What, after all, of the historical, is apparent -- what remains of the "parent" language -- in our daily use? [J. Drucker]


Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


born: United States
active: United States
citizenship: United States

birth: 1952-05-30

Publication Information

publisher: Druckwerk

publication: 1982-00-00

publication history: A single edition of this work was produced, this one. [J. Drucker]

Aesthetic Profile


artists' books (LCSH)

content form:
experimental text (local)

publication tradition:
artists' book (local)

related works: Prove Before Laying has some connections, because of the constraints involved in composition. And the poster I did for an exhibition of my work at Wurster Hall in the 1980s used a similar printing technique for the imagery. [J. Drucker]

other influences: I'm not sure what other procedural work had a direct influence on me at the time, but I was certainly aware of minimalist, conceptual, and poetical productions using such techniques. [J. Drucker]

community: other The poets in the Bay Area, as usual, and extended networks of friends (artists and poets) elsewhere. [J. Drucker]

Related Documents

manuscript type: texts

location: artist's archive

note: Some should be in existence.