At the time I met with Parker, a conceptual artist, he had recently given up the spaciousness of a traditional studio to work at a desk in a communal office a floor above the exhibition venue Artists Space in Manhattan. Parker collects language from email spam as starting points and raw material for his work. His interest lies in the visual systems of displaying and distributing text and how that dictates our assimilation of information. For example, in one body of work, Broadsheets (2005), he gathered text from spam missives and reordered it in newspapers which were printed and dropped off the evening of exhibition openings—morphing the ‘daily news’ he received into a legitimate-looking form. The result was a sampling of the unmoderated archive of human appeals to vanity and greed that Parker witnessed every day—paired with poetry auto-generated by a manic, soulless computer that refers to its reader as ‘Sir/Madam’; flaunts fake Rolexes; offers one-week law degrees; quotes passages of literature; praises God; and reverts to all caps sporadically to announce lottery rewards.
“This could be considered a mascot—it survived a flood in my studio years ago,” Parker said picking up the book Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte. (Notably, a book that deals with how to organize and visualize data.) When I started to explain the residue category for the project, Graham turned to his computer, clicked on the Wi-Fi icon, and scrolled down to “Fischl Studio Network.” It no doubt belonged to the well-known 80’s painter Eric Fischl, who either must have a studio nearby or an extremely potent Wi-Fi beam. “I think this qualifies as his residue in my space.”