The final week before the exhibition opens and new ideas are presenting themselves. I wanted to do something with the dismantled typewriter and so I took the letters and the ribbon and printed the title on some paper ‘The War to End All Wars’.
What I liked about the result was how the red of the ribbon was smudged beneath the writing, giving the impression of blood. The unevenness too reminded me of some text-based work I did following a visit to Auschwitz and I wondered whether I could reprise this work. However, there would have to be differences. The dismantled typewriter, as a piece, has the title, as above, ‘The War to End All Wars’. Clearly we know that this wasn’t the case and that there have been hundreds of wars fought since 1918. Giving the typewriter such a title makes it a metaphor for the First World War (I originally arrived at the idea thinking about the names of all the dead being recorded on just such a machine) and so, as the First World War wasn’t the last, so the typewriter must be shown to still work somehow. Using the letters and the ribbon does this, but if the result is on paper, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the typewriter has been dismantled i.e. it could have been made before it was taken apart. Printing directly onto the wall however does make this connection; after all it is obviously impossible to type with a working typewriter onto a wall, this can only be done if the machine is in pieces. The First World War may be over, but man has continued to fight nevertheless.