Launching on February 15, post is an extension of research happening in The Museum of Modern Art’s C-MAP (Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives in a Global Age) research initiative, which began in 2009.
After almost two years in the making—from the initial idea, to the wire frames, to uploading hundreds of images and archival materials (with many, many more to come)—we’re thrilled to finally be able to share this site with you. You can read more about the Web platform’s goals on the site, but I wanted to provide some of the background story about the naming of post.We considered names like Archipelago, Strata, Tributaries, and Cumulus Stratus. In our aspiration to question the “global” in art, attention to the tangible material geographies of the Earth’s surface offered a way to ground the ubiquitous-sounding “global” in the rocks, water, and land formations that have direct implications for the politics and cultural histories of different societies. There was also Azimuth, an arc on the horizon determined by the relationship between multiple points, which is used in navigation, mapping, and astronomy. The notion of different viewpoints producing one arc of knowledge certainly fit the goals of the Web platform, but in the end these scientific terms were deemed too obscure.
We then aimed for simpler language that suggested the open-ended, non-hierarchical, and constantly evolving structure of the site: In-Process? To Be Determined? These captured a certain ideal, but didn’t seem catchy enough. We then lingered on Things Happen and Go Somewhere for a while. (This phrase is based on an interpretation of post contributor and visiting C-MAP scholar Bill Marotti’s interpretation of the Japanese word jibutsu, which refers to “events and things.”) However, the site’s chief designer wisely advised against it. I’m thankful that I don’t have to type out “Things-Happen-and-Go-Somewhere” every time I mention the site!
We also tried names that had no obvious referent in English in order to let the content speak for itself. Trans-regional fruits and vegetables found around the globe (inspired in part, by Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, or Slavs and Tatars, who make use of watermelons and cucumbers in their work)? Rejected again.
post stuck. It says nothing about what the site is, but rather what you, the user and contributor, might do—post an essay, image, video, sound file, or comment in response to other posts on the site. “Post” also carries other meanings, from the postal service to a listening post. Also, while we don’t subscribe to the relativist attitude of, “Well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man,” that characterizes some postmodernism, the nonlinear approach of post does acknowledge work of postmodernists who wanted to dismantle “grand narratives” and “universal truths.” (The Dude is awesome, but we hope that there will be high stakes and critical interventions in the conversations that take place on post).
We’re proud to finally launch what we’re now calling post!