Shit printing : Scourge of nations (2015)

Photos : Chris Giles

Shit Printing : Scourge of Nations est un texte qui a été publié à l'occasion de l'exposition Confessions of an English Molasses Eater, présentée à l'espace THE NNEX du centre Connexion à Fredericton où une lecture publique du document a eu lieu le 23 janvier 2015. Prenant la forme d'un dépliant politique du 19e siècle, Shit Printing incite son lecteur à condemner les mauvaises techniques d'impression en brulant le document à la fin de sa lecture. Le texte inédit est reproduit ici en intégral :

'' Much has been said in recent times of the immoral craze that is sweeping our nation and corrupting the vulnerable burgeoning minds of our beloved youths. This unruly practice, most often referred to as “Shit Printing”, can only be likened to the very lowest forms of expression practiced by today’s street urchins, such as Rock & Roll and Miniskirts. In its most simplistic form, “Shit Printing” can be defined as :

The practice of making badly printed images.

Its philosophy is anti-establishmentarian, and therefore, it seeks to attack the very fabric upholding the rigid structures that we as a society have fought so long and hard to construct and maintain. To turn a blind eye unto “Shit Printing” is to remain flaccid in the face of human regression. We, as concerned parents and community members must address this problem in no less a manner than we have addressed past outbreaks of sickness such as consumption, rabies, and the bubonic plague. If your child or a child near you suddenly displays signs of active, or even passive, interest in anything so much as resembling “Shit Printing”, immediate intervention must be exercised. In aiding our humble reader in one’s dutiful quest to vanquish this harmful parasite, this writer has compiled here a list of precocious signs native to the illness that may indicate a youth at risk. Be wary of any child displaying :

† Flagrant disregard for precision in common tasks
† Acute interest in smudges or general uncleanliness
† Obsessive behaviour relating to photographs

In more advanced cases, some might find their youngster in the lamentable predicament whereas participation in the act of “Shit Printing” has already become a regular or even daily occurrence. The following symptoms are indisputable signs of prolonged exposure to this virulent and filthy practice :

† Inkiness of the hands or clothing
† Profuse drinking of unconventional acidic binders such as coffee, beer or wine
† Possession of large rolls of paper sullied with shoe prints

An adult coming across any of the aforementioned symptoms should address the situation with stern words and careful discipline for “Shit Printing” is often associated with a cry for affection in misunderstood youths. A simple slap on the wrist coupled with a gentle kiss on the brow could be a timely solution to an ever more troubling issue.   

In considering the deeper implications relating to the matter at hand a looming question suddenly takes centre stage, for we as adults all know that “Shit Printing” is bad, but what is it about the practice that is so alluring to our children? An anonymous reader offers some insight through this manifesto of sorts found inscribed under the cover of his son’s composition book :     

A boat sinks and someone on shore is witness to the event. Immediately, the witness runs to town and recounts the tale to the first passerby, who in turn recounts it to another. Three accounts of a single event now exist. Each account deviating from the last. Years go by, and the story is retold through evermore fading memories to new generations who  begin to perceive some universal truth in its fabric.  Hundreds of years removed from its root, the story now has something meaningful to say about the human condition. It possesses clear morals and values and can be used as a tool to teach others about life within a broader system of myths that construct a shared cultural mythology.     

The basic mechanisms of myth making are older than time. Their most profound manifestations remain true after millennia even though they hold far less importance in our present day lives. Through a relatively new religious obsession with the dogma of science, humanity has come to stigmatize ideologies that fail to adhere to rigorous verifiable methodologies. An unfortunate fate, for within the apparent flaw lies the beauty of myth – resplendent in its infinitely malleable construction. We can make of myth what we want, and through this, forge our own destiny.     

In choosing my own destiny, I have decided to undergo the arduous task of creating images that adhere to the construction of myth. This means that they must retain something true to present day life, yet leave enough room for misinterpretation, appropriation, and reinvention. Shit Printing is the method that I have chosen to undergo this task. Its inherent capacity for corruption of information is ideal when working with the modern technology of the photograph. I can only hope that future civilisations shall find my images and assume that they have found the truth....     

It seems clear to this writer that “Shit Printing” as an ideology represents a dangerous dogmatic return to the pagan religions of old. Being as such, it should be dealt with in much the same manner as when witches ran rampant upon the face of the earth – with fire and the stake!!!     

Enclosed in this document is a reproduction of a confiscated “Shit Print”. Take the time to familiarise yourself with its unappealing qualities before burning it in front of your children. ''