Curated in collaboration with Gabrielle Jensen


The moment a word is denominated, meaning is inscribed, as if by force, onto the idea being represented. A push and pull comes into play, between the mechanics of calcification, erasure, transference, and perhaps even those of substitution. The result: a text-turned-image that builds, destroys, and reconstructs itself as naturally as eyelids flutter. This infinite movement between the building, destruction, and reconstruction of meaning is made physical in the palimpsest, as object and concept.

How is the palimpsest traditionally defined?

  • a very old document on which the original writing has been erased and replaced with new writing.

  • something that has changed over time and shows evidence of that change.

In these terms, the palimpsest is temporally concrete — a past marked by the present —  yet constantly changing over time. In its plurality, the palimpsest is simultaneously a past, present, and becoming-document.

Double to Erase attempts to illustrate the vacillating gestures of production and negation in meaning-making through presenting expanded conceptual and physical iterations of the palimpsest. To work with, manifest, or define this term evokes not only the violence in meaning-making outlined above, but doubles it, acting as a palimpsest itself.

Is the temporality of the palimpsest marked by the act of erasure that occurs during the process of layering, replacing, and superseding, or is it rendered solely by the creation of new work? The palimpsest unsettles the presumption of linear temporality by virtue of this very unnameability— as a document or object that appears through negation and production, erasure and writing, as an original held beneath its own effacement. Our conceptualization of the palimpsest acts as a microcosm of history constantly writing over itself— its temporal stakes are visible in the palimpsest-as-disruption.

Double to Erase presents rare moments when this collapse comes into being, where history becomes non-site, flattened out into a spectral happening, a moment in time that exists by nature of its permanent disappearance. We gather artists Ivana Basic, Tom Butler, Francesca Capone, and Vanessa Castro to explore the disjointed temporality of the palimpsest.