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Alexandra Grant — 5 ITERATIONS

Alexandra Grant is a Los Angeles-based artist who works with language in a variety of
materials and forms, including drawing, wire sculpture, neon, wallpaper, and painting. Her work was the subject of a MOCA Focus show this year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Questions that inform her work are: When does handwriting become drawing? What is revealed about the nature of thought when the words we use to communicate are converted into other aesthetic forms?
For X-TRA, Grant has created a project called 5 ITERATIONS. Based on her process of taking language from text through drawing, static sculpture and into kinetic form, 5 ITERATIONS is a document of each stage of her investigation of text as image.

POINT
“Nimbus,” by Michael Joyce, 2004. Written by the author in 2004. Paper on pencil.

POINT is a passage of text titled “Nimbus,” written by Grant’s long-time collaborator, hypertext author Michael Joyce. Representing the written word as a medium for conceptual communication, this piece serves as source material for the remaining iterations.

PLANE
Alexandra Grant, nimbus drawing, 2007. Paper on pencil.

PLANE is Grant’s translation of Joyce’s text into drawing as she explores its patterns of grammar and sentence structure visually. Here, the artist highlights the visual aspect of writing by presenting words in reverse.

SPACE
Alexandra Grant, ¿dónde está la escalera al cielo? (Where is the ladder to heaven?), detail, 2007. Wallpaper, edition of 10. Publisher: the Lapis Press, Culver City, CA.

In SPACE, drawing is translated into three dimensions via wire sculpture, work Grant refers to as “drawing without paper.” These wire words cast shadows across the surface of the plane, further underscoring the word’s physical existence. (This image is part of a wallpaper project Grant created for her show at MOCA.)

TIME
Gregory Harrison, Series of stills of Alexandra Grant’s “nimbus II,” 2007. Filmed at MOCA, April, 2007.

TIME is a series of stills created by another of Grant’s collaborators, Los Angeles-based filmmaker Greg Harrison. They document the wire sculpture after its transformation into nimbus II, (2007), a spinning globe of wire words (also installed at MOCA). Using the layout convention of the original text–left to right, top to bottom–the wire words no longer express a literary meaning, but instead suggest the passage of time.

MOTION
Gregory Harrison, Short film after Alexandra Grant’s “nimbus II,” 2007. Filmed at MOCA, April 2007. Sound as part of Dan Rothenberg’s project for Guide by cell, MOCA, 2007.

MOTION is a short film by Harrison, available online at www.x-traonline.org. It translates the spinning wire sculpture into a real-time audio-visual experience, including interpretations of the text by human voices (produced by another Grant collaborator, theatre director Dan Rothenberg).