books.png
Channel 171 logo.jpg

DENNIS BALK

The published works function as Exhibition Novels, a format that offers a catalog of visual art embedded in all manner of narrative invention.The collections of short stories and limited-edition, graphic novellas wrestle to participate in a literary aesthetic that sifts through existential conflicts of media-narrative and the representation of the self in historical time. The feature-length novels are immersive and cinematic sagas fusing historical non-fiction with metaphysical invention to advance the notion that every history is a story always told for the first time. 

MORALITY COLLECTIVE, A GRAPHIC READER

MORALITY COLLECTIVE invites the reader into a formal assemblage of short stories and narrative prose, interlaced with graphic visuals and visual art. The multiplicity of voices throughout the Reader find themselves intrigued by the thematic ideas of morality as a collective tactic, awkwardly wedged in the contemporary media moment. Morality evolution theories are teased with mini-dramas and short essays. Puzzling evidence is collected, forensic analysis—  inconclusive. 

 

MORALITY COLLECTIVE animates characters that scavenge the omnipresent veneer of social aesthetics in search of a decent enough story to perform for the enterprising and curious reader.

—The characters in the Reader maneuver through states of self-imposed victimhood, flipping through revolving narrative conventions to explore a proper fit.

—The Graphic Reader recruits the humor of newsy reportage to sift the anxious resolve we employ to achieve temporarily what we believe it means to be a proper, social being.

 

—Many of the short stories in the Reader are so pleasantly inconsequential, it’s as if the characters are passively waiting, somehow expecting to extricate themselves from the foul air of media-culture.

Morality slider pages 1
Morality slider pages 1

press to zoom
Morality slider pages 2
Morality slider pages 2

press to zoom
Morality slider pages 13
Morality slider pages 13

press to zoom
Morality slider pages 1
Morality slider pages 1

press to zoom
1/13
MORALITY Cover web.jpg
logo am.jpg

“For a long time in the gallery work I’ve been interested in creating physical sites of context-specific, aesthetic propositions, both fiction and non-fiction. The installations are stagings of elaborate scenarios where the characters have long gone off to other places, other stories. The singular art works promote their own contextual fiction of the archived and warehoused remnants attached to larger stories happening elsewhere. The essays, exhibition novels and graphic readers insist that the multiplicity of characters wrestle with their own aesthetic equations which they’ve proposed for themselves.”

SEVEN ELEVEN, The Complete Files

SEVEN ELEVEN, The Complete Files is a collection of short stories, stunning graphic visuals and theoretical science embedded in conspiracies and passed to the reader by a consortium of characters. An experimental genre of storytelling; the Exhibition Novel.

 

PART ONE, The Cash Register Files, are stories that revolve around a mysterious source of data which has been streamed directly into the store’s cash register. The codes, buried in the pop-visuals, have been decrypted by a group of renowned geneticists. The implications on our current understanding of human behavior are troubling. The characters—who are trapped in the convenience market—record their passing time in a variety of ways, which become their graphic stories. Several of the characters are young designers. Their designs are represented and critiqued in the book by a bevy of important professionals. Their reviews become another novella embedded in the overall saga.

 

PART TWO, The Radio Interview, is the recorded and transcribed interview of the main characters long after the major event has passed. Their hardships become another narrative of noir drama, laced with suspicious conspiracies. The story comes together in the real time interview, eventually to dissolve into further unanswered questions. The unexpected conclusion is a shocker, especially for the author.

Web Cover FULL.jpg

"As an independent code analyst in Mumbai, I first discovered the Rogue Personality Feed when I was isolating aspects of data stream noise, the digital noise which can accompany less than perfectly composed code strings. This type of noise can damage and corrupt even the most succinctly written code. Similar to misplaced DNA in a chromosome. We arranged these fragments into a typical sequence and surprisingly, it was a coherent conversation. Coherent, not in the sense of a worldly participation or commentary, but coherent in rows of isolated thoughts within a container of semiotic sameness. The data was a living stream organizing its thoughts as downloaded into the cash register." — Thinking.

logo am.jpg

— The Exhibition Novel format works well to contain the multiple personalities of the author as well as the multiplicity of characters in the Seven Eleven story. The climax of the Large Panels, while spectacular, does not bode well for a society of cultured human beings.

Sample Pages cv
Sample Pages cv

press to zoom
Sample Pages 9
Sample Pages 9

press to zoom
Sample Pages 3
Sample Pages 3

press to zoom
Sample Pages cv
Sample Pages cv

press to zoom
1/10

“The idea of context as subject has brought my focus to object oriented ontology as a process to further problematize the formulaic protocol of both the gallery-market object and storied cultural expression, within the contemporary ramble of media consciousness.”

"The narratives are laboratories, synthesizing formulas of causality to explicate the cultural malaise and the suffocating, amped-psyche of indiscriminate impatience."

SPLINTER GROUP,  The Long And Short Of It

The SPLINTER GROUP catalog presents the primary focus of the brand, the merchandising graphics and the visual clutter that accumulated around and throughout the streetwear and accessories merchandise. Inventory photography, merchandise samples, production design sketches and drawings are well represented in the book. Prints Ads and pop-up announcements make up the majority of the visual design. Poetry, prose panels and short narratives composed with geopolitical photography, from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, are a primary component of the graphic visuals.

SPLINTER GROUP the brand can be seen as an extended effort within the broader context of gallery art, and the type of esoteric projects that operate in the outer parameters of cultural production. The short-lived, para-fiction projects in New York and the performance-as-concept movement in the recent history of art practices help define the overall experiment of the SPLINTER GROUP brand. The catalog documents the majority of the creative output from the design studio during the years 2010 - 2018. A short span of time for a fashion brand.

The streetwear clothing, primarily menswear and the accessories, primarily bags are exceptionally well made and produced by local crafts people and artisans. The high-adrenaline, aggressive graphics of the visual material, spread across the merchandise, is the signature of the brands aesthetic. A high percentage of the fabric print design began as gallery work, both paintings and sculpture. The criss-cross between what would be considered formally as artwork spread across the myriad surfaces of the merchandise defines the visual trip.

logo am.jpg

“The brand project came out of an early project: Hurly Burly, A Play By David Rage, which was a group of gallery paintings and sculptural installation pieces which embraced the schism of ideological chaos as a theatrical narrative. I thought the idea of devoting a good portion of the studio work to developing my version of the David Rabe play was a great idea. It’s terrific play. My earlier work in theater brought me to that discursive opportunity. In the project, I considered the sloganizing impetus of any topical, cultural message or ideological campaign as a communication failure. The breakdown is predictable, as is the splintered reception and corrosion of the original  intention. I thought it was interesting enough to start designing t-shirts and collateral as primary material. Let the confusion reign and the pieces fall where they may. It was a tremendously freeing experiment even though I adore the rigor of discourse I use in other areas of my project thinking. Once I committed to the production of the merchandise it opened flood gates I hadn’t anticipated. It was a lot of energy and tremendous fun. I didn’t concern myself with a realistic marketing plan. The overall mess of the thing is what I found engaging.”

— Certainly, the façade of a sociopolitical indulgence within the brand aesthetic will appeal to the rank-and-file ideologues who roam social media and hide in the dark web. Perhaps the catalog, The Long And Short Of It, the visual history of the brand, will reach an audience as confounded by their own role in contemporary culture as is this fashion brand, and they will resonate in that particular confusion.

— Considering the title of the catalog representing the brand; what is this really? How do you categorize this catalog? A history of the brand? An inventory, a shopper’s guide in the ruse of yet another graphic departure? Perhaps take it at face value, and let the work present in this catalog define the brand as the noisy hype and lost-in-the-clouds aesthetic culture it represents.

A SERIES OF LITTLE WHITE BOOKS
 

BEAT

The narrative methods of History are themselves nomadic, they skip across genres animating accuracy or emphatic realism, desperate to connect with an audience eagerly anticipating revelation. 

 

History can never render the truth of an individual, 

not in a sun drenched coffee shop, a smoky downtown club or out on the road.

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/7
title.jpg

‘Channeled and streamed’ are the disenfranchised fragments that belong to no one and entertain everyone, for a moment, also quick to be discarded.

 

Trash pop, clever but charmless, infantile scratches. 

 

Even further down below there has to be some way

back up. Some signage of indication that there are other walls and bridges, maybe other places.

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/8

ALEXANDRIA

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day

to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day

are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with

open eyes, to make it possible.”

 

― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/6
AISLES HEAD.jpg

Dramatic fiction gives the truth a solid context.

 

Similarities and differences of identical material
had to be accounted for.

 

Don’t get me started,
let’s not even talk about history.

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/10

A Primitive is trapped in the cerebral archive, memories of pictures and fragments of pictures, fragments of memories of pictures. In there, not much else appears.

 

A Neo Primitive grabs the fragments with both theoretical hands and throws them down on any flat abandoned surface knowing they won’t mean anything more than more accumulated memory, more fragments, more pieces. Perfect symmetry. Once there, not much else occurs.

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/8
title.jpg

Placebos and Moirés are utilitarian,

hardly high art but the stand in, 

the stunt double for serious art.

 

Cutting Edge is a doomed thematic

continuously replaced and outdated,

a Placebo avoids the pitfalls of replacement,

it is always considered nonreal anyway.

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/5
HIGHWAY 61 title.jpg

If there were a connection between these things out here
I would surely tell you all about it.

Until that time comes we’ll just keep lining them up
as they come along.
The rest, for all you seekers, is up to you.
That’s about the best we can do
out on Highway 61.

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/8
Anxiety title copy.png

When stories of strange behavior and persecution 

make their way to the light of day

the common belief is that less people become the victim

 

When stories attain the status of conspiracy

the light of day is the dark correspondence

tinged with unacceptable fiction

 

When stories are buried in the dark

only the correspondence

of forever repeating ciphers remains.

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
1/6

DENNIS BALK