E! Entertainment

Kate Durbin. Wonder (SPD, dist.), $15 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-9895985-1-4
Artist and poet Durbin (The Ravenous Audience) cuts conceptual poetry from the cloth of pop culture and reality TV to perfect the flat observation of televised distress. Known for online projects like Gaga Stigmata and Women as Objects, Durbin here fills pink-paged sections with prose that reads like reportage from the eponymous television channel: “Kim and Sister Kourtney walk the red path in white custom-made Juicy Couture sweat suits with Bride and Bridesmaid stitched in cursive on the backs,” or “Wife Shauni also drinks a Mai Tai, smiling.” The characters, displaced from the television screen, perform in a way that obscures any sense of veracity, which makes for an appropriate blurring of reality TV’s already blurred honesty. It’s possible to enjoy the text with or without an understanding of The Hills, Kim Kardashian, or the many wives of Bravo shows. Like the best conceptual projects, Durbin’s doesn’t direct us, doesn’t point toward a morality or critique. Instead, she flips the channels, forcing us to make our own meanings (or not). Seemingly unending descriptions of jewelry, straightforward inventories of rooms in the Playboy Mansion, cinematic cutaways—it’s all a weirdly engaging and smart addition to Durbin’s ongoing practice. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/19/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
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