Italian designer Enzo Mari spent the year 1957 drawing an apple. The result, La Mela
, is a large silkscreen print produced as an artist multiple by Danese Milano continuously since. Mari lavished time on the drawing, preparing it for industrial manufacture by abolishing detail and reducing it to an essential form. He was not looking to draw AN apple, but rather THE apple — a perfect symbol designed for the serial logic of industrial reproduction. In place of the unique work of art and its privileged market, multiples used contemporary manufacturing to produce many exact copies circulated as consumer products.
reconsiders this process 50 years later, as software coding has replaced the industrial assembly line. At any one moment, this software presents one of 1,728 possible arrangements
, each a face built from minimal typographic furniture. Instead of many identical copies from one design, Multi
is one original set of instructions constantly producing alternative versions.
Originally commissioned for the January / February 2015
issue of ART PAPERS. Multi (version 2.0) was expanded for
Intangibles at the Walker Art Center, and is available now
for OS X, iPhone, and iPad.