Geek Culture: Back Issues, 2012-present, process-based performance taking place at Cloud City Comics, Syracuse; exhibited at VPA Faculty Exhibition, XL Projects, Syracuse, NY and Those Who Can, Palitz Gallery, New York, NY.

As a lifelong sci-fi and comic book fan, Chris is interested in how many pop culture fans don’t just passively absorb pop culture, but instead actively engage in cultural production in their own right by writing fan fiction, participating in cosplay, making video mash-ups, and so on.  The projects in his Geek Culture series reflect my interest in these issues as they play out via various comic-culture venues. Back Issues takes place at his local comic book store, Cloud City Comics.

Since February 2012, Chris volunteered at Cloud City for a couple hours every week; Chris helps organize their boxes of back-issue comics, putting them in alphabetic and numeric order. Chris keeps tabs on the 60+ boxes of old comics in the front of the store, which are generally in order but can become slowly disorganized through their constant use by customers. He also organizes the boxes in the store room in the back, where Cloud City puts the comics they buy from other collectors, and which eventually end up for sale online. Since they are constantly buying collections, this is an endless task! The comics in these back-room boxes are often completely random, so they must be organized from scratch.

A standard comics long box holds about 200-300 comics. Chris can organize one to three boxes an hour, depending on how well they're organized in the first place.

A lot of his work is about systems organization, and often Chris deals with very complex systems, as seen in his paleontology projects, tree projects, or In Medias Res. This project intentionally deals with a very straightforward kind of organization (alphabetic and numeric) but also one that has a direct, positive, real-world impact on the store in which he volunteers: putting the comics in order improves the customer experience in the front of the store, and allows them to more easily put their back-room comics up for sale online.

Chris wants to thank Jeff Watkins, the owner of Cloud City, for generously allowing him to work with the store on this project.


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