Critical Dictionary


Critical Dictionary


23 × 17 cm | 5 × 9 in
248 ills | 192 pages

Editor: David Evans

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Critical Dictionary is an ambitious cornucopia of thoughts, images, and illustrations from online art magazine Inspired by Georges Bataille’s critical dictionary, the project strives to declassify terms in a playful manner emphasising the open-ended, the provisional and the unfinished nature of language.

The title alludes to the mock dictionary that Georges Bataille edited for Documents in 1929 and 1930. Like this famous precedent, Critical Dictionary aims to puncture pretension, bringing words and their referents down to earth using a playful manner to declassify or undefine terms. Abandoning the conventional approach of dictionaries in which images play a solely supportive role, Critical Dictionary allows images to act progressively, with many of the entries illustrated by examples that lead to an evolving discussion on interpretation.

Critical Dictionary includes contributions from artists, illustrators and photographers including Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, David Campany, Common Culture, Karen Knorr, Ann Lee, Jake Walters and Penelope Umbrico. Entries include Accident, Civilization, Drone, Error, Fragment, Informe, Metaphor, Monument: Mycelium, Portrait, Quotation, Retort, Smell, Touch, Umfunktionierung, Voice, Wander, XXX and Zoo. Critical Dictionary provides a thought provoking take on language and preconception through unique imagery and the playful re-organisation of texts and images.