In 2005, while a student at the San Francisco Art Institute,
I was introduced to the work of Gregory Bateson, specifically
through an essay titled, A Theory of Play and Fantasy (1955).
I saw a lot of similar ideas present in the work of Duchamp
and wrote an essay proposing to create a work that might
amplify this connection. (The work I created can be viewed
With this project came a personal epiphany. For the first
time, I felt able to reduce my creative process to a set
of very basic terms. I began researching Duchamp and Bateson,
trying to find if they had ever been associated in any way.
Pursuing this Bateson/Duchamp connection is what led me
to the WRTMA.
The library at SFAI (also known as the Anne Bremer Memorial
library) is where I first came into contact with these documents.
After hearing from a professor that Duchamp and Bateson
once co-chaired a symposium on art, I went to the library
and walked into the unpublished archive of the WRTMA with
Making this connection between Bateson and Duchamp, and
then finding the WRTMA archive, my actions began to feel
as if they were fated. I started spending most of my free-time
studying the WRTMA, investigating this 'Duchamp/Bateson
connection,' while also thinking of how I might be able
to do something with it.
Eventually I was given permission to make cassette copies
of the audio recordings and bring a scanner into the library
with which I scanned most of the archive. The materials
gathered from the archive then became the source material
for a new project to make the WRTMA accessible.
The 'abstract,' here formatted for web, was taken from Robert
Motherwell's 'Modern Artists in America.' (1950, out of
I would like to thank Stacy Garfinkel and Jeff Gunderson
for their assistance.