Donato Mancini

The Artist: Donato Mancini

The Lowdown: Mancini's ligature--created out of enormous chains of vinyl letters--is the latest incarnation of his ongoing text-based project. The last few letters of a word are used to determine the first letters of the next one, and so on. Partly inspired by gestalt-like verbal configurations, this 1,100-word opus is guaranteed to disorient the viewer.

Coordinates: Untitled (Conversation Loops) opens on Friday (November 5) at the Western Front and runs until December 18. Accompanying ligature will be new video works by Miguel da Conceicao, Jacob Gleeson, and Elisa Rathje.

Process-Oriented: Mancini remains interested in how text might operate as art. His newest installation stretches across two adjacent walls, making it impossible to view the work as a whole. Since he began this project more than four years ago, the artist has periodically refined his vinyl assemblage, which consists of everyday English words such as mustard. As one stands in front of it, word structures emerge before receding back into the seemingly undifferentiated mass of text. Mancini's poetic installation explores the uncertainty of perception and the dissolution of memory experienced by individuals as they navigate an increasingly complex information society.

What It All Means: "This piece should have been done before; it shouldn't be me doing it in 2004," Mancini says in an interview downtown. "I'm not doing it unselfconsciously or without knowing the history. I like the historical irony. If there was a monument of concrete poetry, it's like I'm finding the bits to patch in."