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On the End of V/A – Various Artists

Editors’ Note
Archive
Bill Drummond
Disappearing
Gertrude Stein
Inconclusive
Jiajia Zhang
Nonsensical
Plethora of directions
Publishing
Vanishing

In our Editors’ Note on “disappearing” published back in September 2021, we claimed that “disappearing […] is relevant to our own role. [Every once in a while], we take the floor through the Editors’ Note, only to retreat and leave it to the invited authors and their contributions.” Back then we didn’t think of us disappearing permanently anytime soon, but we knew the day would come eventually. Today it has arrived: We are publishing the final article on V/A – Various Artists. 

Text The Editors
Illustration CÉLINE DUCROT

V/A was conceptualized during pandemic lockdowns in late 2020 and was launched in April 2021. The platform was not only initiated during this global health crisis but has witnessed the beginning of two wars of global implications and other (geo)political catastrophes. Against this backdrop we have examined the cultural landscape and sensitivities emerging within it. Based on our thematic focuses – petri dish, (in)dependence, alliance, disappearing, crafts, harm, ruptures, fabulating, immediacy, and opulence – we invited cultural practitioners active in specific scenes, countries, and environments to share their experiences, viewpoints, and fields of knowledge.

Looking back on three years of publishing articles of this kind, we recently have been asking ourselves what we had been doing exactly and where this could have taken us. Artist Jiajia Zhang provided a potential answer to this question in her recent interview with Dara Jochum, where she talks about Gertrude Stein’s writings. She points out that she likes some of Stein’s texts “because of the repetition and the nonsensical aspect of them, which leads them to point in so many directions and means they are not in themselves conclusive.” V/A may have repeated itself and even been nonsensical on occasion, but, more importantly, we like to think that the online platform we have been running over the past three years certainly has been pointing in a plethora of directions. And we think it’s fair to say that we’ve always shied away from overhasty judgement. 

We will not renege on this principle here by trying to make one final big statement conclusively explaining the (art) world; instead, we will let another practitioner point into yet other directions. In the final contribution to V/A we are sharing four chapters of Bill Drummond’s a local artist – a novel that will probably never be published in the conventional book format, as the British artist writes. In our eyes Drummond is a master in making things disappear – and, at the same time, in making us think about the things that have vanished. And this, ultimately, is what we hope for: that V/A and the content we have published will occasionally be remembered and referred to even once the magazine is not active anymore. Thanks to Pro Helvetia, who has initiated the platform and has acted as our publisher over the past three years, the content will remain online as a resource. Feel free to come back and dig into our archive whenever you please. 

Before we’re gone, we’d like to encourage you – although Bill Drummond suggests otherwise in one of his texts – to keep following the various artists, authors, and publishing partners we have been collaborating with over the years. 

It was a huge pleasure knowing that there is a global readership out there following our venture. Thank you for your openness to engage with our platform.

Text The Editors
Illustration CÉLINE DUCROT
Editors’ Note
Archive
Bill Drummond
Disappearing
Gertrude Stein
Inconclusive
Jiajia Zhang
Nonsensical
Plethora of directions
Publishing
Vanishing
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