April 19, 2007

David Askevold's Enlightened Symbols

The kid's favorite magazine is actually "the airplane magazine," the safety information card that she pores over and demands to have read to her repeatedly, with a fervor that would probably startle even the most jaded-but-secretly-attention-starved flight attendant.

Her fascination with these safety infographics carries through wherever we go; she asks us to read the evacuation diagrams on the train, on the side of restaurant highchairs; the Heimlich poster back by the cash register while we wait for our takeout.

Which, I guess, makes sense. These are the actual images that surround her, not the treacly throwback visions of farm animals and cowboys.


So why not put some of them up at home? You could just collect the least ratty seatback cards from your flights, maybe pry off a few plaques while you're out tagging, or you could put up this print by one of the pioneers of conceptual art.

David Askevold's 1999 edition, Enlightened Symbols, is a collection of industrial hazard and safety signs arranged on a Buddist Kalachakra Mandala ground. If you think it's incongruous for someone involved in the dematerialization of the art object to be trafficking in signed, limited edition prints, relax. Even conceptualists gotta eat. And besides, they're very non-rarified-commodity priced at just $90.

But if you insist on conceptual purity--or if your nursery wall calls out for more than a single mandala--Askevold has also published the image as unsigned, unlimited edition wallpaper. A 15' roll is $60 at Printed Matter.

David Askevold, Enlightened Symbols, 1999, hand silkscreened print, $90USD [drivedrive.com]
David Askevold, Untitled Wallpaper [Target Practice], $60 [printedmatter.org]
Related: Number of images currently in the Stick Figures In Peril photopool: 7,879 [flickr]


like your kid, one of my daughters get so excited everytime we're on the plane because she gets to look at the safety instructions. On our last 14 hour flyign adventure to Hawaii, we must have pored over it for a while.

Now I just need to her to memorize the terminal map for Dallas/Ft Worth.

Okay, there needs to be a kids book of the Airplane Instruction booklet. My husband actually considered taking one of them the last time we flew, but then quickly reconsidered as soon as he realized it would mean him reading it NON-STOP to the kid (who is also obsessed with the safety signage).

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