“No Boundaries,” the buoyant track by Actual Magic on this issue’s Pioneer Sessions audio compilation CD, neatly sums up the underlying theme of Esopus 24. Much of the content in these pages concerns itself with boundaries—between countries, cultures, languages, genders, and more—and in many cases, with using creativity as a way to breach them.
This active border crossing (if not border erasing) not only offers a hopeful alternative to the disconcerting political tribalism currently afflicting the world, it handily reflects the goals of Esopus: to desegregate creative disciplines, to push beyond the typical constraints of traditional printing, and to close the gap between contributors and audience.
For all of that to happen, every issue of Esopus requires our readers to engage directly with—and in many instances, manipulate or even complete—much of its content, even it if means altering or destroying the issue’s form in the process.
In Esopus 24, two artists’ projects in particular take this call to engagement to an unprecedented level. Hayden Dunham, an emerging artist whose work integrates art, science, and technology, has utilized a revolutionary paper stock for MELT D|D OWN, a fascinating piece that requires your participation to be “activated.” Dunham’s accompanying audio component, accessible only via careful sleuthing by our readers, initiates a process of “discovering the potential in objects for the release of their physical form. To dissolve this physical reality and enter into something else: an in-between.” With his project Drawing Set, Marco Maggi has provided our readers with the tools—a sheet of adhesive-backed die-cut forms created by the artist—to create their own artwork on the removable blank page provided (depending on the issue you receive, it will be magenta, yellow, or cyan). When you’ve completed yours, send it to the Esopus office and we’ll include it in an exhibition to be curated by Maggi and Esopus at the New York Public Library next fall. (We promise to return your contribution to you after the show.)
I hope you enjoy taking apart this issue as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together.—Tod Lippy