The Day After Reading

The Day After Reading: A Memory Newspaper

Text by Fanny Honegger

“Honestly, the first thing I read in a newspaper is the movie reviews.”

That’s the answer Joshua Grannell—also known as the drag queen Peaches Christ— gives to Swiss artist Ludovic Balland, who is interviewing this San Francisco character in his city apartment adorned with framed movie posters. The interview is the fourth in a weeklong series of talks with seven San Franciscans about what they read in the news the previous day.

The outcomes of these conversations make up the seven sections of a “newspaper” displayed in the All Possible Futures exhibit at the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco from January 14th to February 13th, 2014, supported by swissnex San Francisco. The exhibit features 37 projects by Bay Area and international artists, including three Swiss designers: Balland with The Day After Reading: A Memory Newspaper, Zak Kyes with an infinite poster series, and Jürg Lehni with Viktor, a robot that draws on a blackboard with chalk.

Aside from movies, Joshua Grannell finds himself especially attentive to news regarding Israel and its conflicts. He has a brother who is a US diplomat in Tel Aviv. “I suppose I pay more attention to European politics than other Americans as I have lots of friends as well as Peaches Christ fans that are from outside the US,” he explains.

ludovic balland

Joshua Grannell being interviewed in his apartment by Ludovic Balland and Georg Schreiter

 For Swiss artist Ludovic Balland, his newspaper is about investigating reading habits and exploring new ways of reporting in print and online. “At the same time, of course, it is a portrait of San Francisco readers,” Balland says. “The layout of the paper allows for the comparison of memories about stories, visual details, advertisements, as well as individual reading practices and personal contexts.”

At the opening of All Possible Futures at SOMArts on January 14th, the first four pages of the project are displayed on a wall and read attentively by attendees.

Day After Reading

The Day After Reading at the opening of the All Possible Futures exhibition at SOMArts

Within the Memory Newspaper, Joshua and his Peaches Christ persona share the spotlight with 79-year old Lulu Ezekiel, an artist who has been living in San Francisco since 1956 and who talks about the changing city, its neighborhoods, and its newspapers. There’s also Jeremy Tooker, owner of the Four Barrel Coffee Shop (he is not excited about Volkswagen’s new seven-seater SUV); Ken Goldberg, an artist and Professor of New Media and Industrial Engineering at UC Berkeley (he’s pretty stoked that Google acquired smart thermostat company Nest—his friend is the CTO); and a cast of other exciting characters.

The full newspaper can be found in print at SOMArts and at swissnex San Francisco. Or read it here on our website.

Which part of yesterday’s news got stuck in your head?