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Oscar Santillan, The Castle, 2009–11, book pages, tape, glue, 4 x 16 x 16". From “paperless.”

“paperless”

Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

Oscar Santillan, The Castle, 2009–11, book pages, tape, glue, 4 x 16 x 16". From “paperless.”

Paper manufacturing consumes 35 percent of harvested trees in America, while 40 percent of our total annual waste consists of paper and paper products. We all hoped that digital communication would alleviate these problems, yet today we churn out more paper than ever (while gobbling up other natural resources to power our smartphones, laptops, and high-definition televisions). Archaic as well as nonecological, paper is dirty, a material that some have come to regard as fragile, antique, even abject. Curated by Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art’s Steven Matijcio, “paperless” contemplated our conflicted relationship to this ubiquitous material, gathering art from fifteen international artists who have sought to reshape, recycle, torture, or dismember as they’ve mulled over paper’s future or elegized its demise.

As might be expected, books figured prominently in multiple works

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