From 2004 to 2009 Sally O’Reilly and I produced Implicasphere: an itinerary of meandering thought. This was a serial mini-publication that sought (in deliberate folly) to map on to a single broadsheet the meaning and use across culture and history of a simple everyday thing, such as Onions, Stripes or Smoke.
Five editions were distributed inside Cabinet, the New York-based magazine of art and culture, between 2006 and 2008.
“Cabinet, the most conceptually adventurous visual arts magazine to appear in the last decade … has helped to incubate another project [Implicasphere] undertaken in the same spirit of intellectual playfulness, which is folded into its pages.”—Eye (issue 65, Autumn 2007, p. 33)
Implicasphere combined image and text fragments taken unadulterated from folk craft to nuclear physics, metaphysical poetry, pulp novels, linguistics, criminology, film noir and astrology. We intended its collage effect to bring incompatible shards of thought into association to expose the complexity of even an apparently simple word.
The introduction to each edition of Implicasphere attempted to give off the air of a scholarly paper while undermining itself with its rococo intensity and its mixing up of doggerel and fact. Elsewhere we explained: “Implicasphere is piratical, amateur and partial, dependent as it is on the vagaries of its editors’ imaginations. It leaves its material in an unstable state, caught in the excitement of the first encounter with an unfamiliar idea. It hopes to provoke and inspire in the reader consternation, intrigue and reverie.”
Our influences included folk almanacs, anthologies like the The Saturday Book (1940-60s, UK), and the archives of minor museums. Though we weren’t consciously aware of it at the time, our project also descended from the older tradition of commonplace books.
We also produced themed events, examining the Onion and its symbolism with experts from the fields of cosmology, literature and magic (Photographers’ Gallery, London, 2007), and an exhibition and event programme, Implicasphere: Smoke (Pump House Gallery, London, 2008).
“Implicasphere, the self-styled ‘itinerary of meandering thought’ […] is a little magazine that would swallow the world — one that spins off from a simple idea and, at best, racks up such a diversity of archival embodiments of the guiding concept that ‘String’ or ‘Stripes’ or ‘Salt and Pepper’ seem, in the interval of reading borrowed quotations and viewing miniature illustrations, like a phantom key to the universe. At the same time, though, there is a subjectivity, randomness and winking playfulness about the approach that inspires as much doubt as certainty.” — Martin Herbert, Art Monthly
The first three Implicasphere editions were designed with Hoop design. For the Cabinet editions, the format was redeveloped and designed with Fraser Muggeridge.