Adeena Karasick’s startling and arresting work constantly de-contextualizes and re-contextualizes language: its signs, signifiers, images, ideograms, pictograms, lexicography and syntax. In doing so, it leads us into the subliminal, where it foregrounds memories, associations, archetypes, metaphors and other elements of the subconscious usually well and deeply suppressed in the communications we construct to repress as much as we reveal in our conversations of the everyday. This constant rupture of desire, of language struggling against its bonds and restraints, literally in spite of itself, is what becomes both visceral and palpable in an encounter with Karasick’s images as they turn into texts, and texts into images.
Karasick’s work first encounters, then reveals, and finally resists the growing cornucopia of privatized fear—the increasingly ubiquitous metanarrative of the public space that surrounds us—in the iconography of safety manuals, the illusions of choice represented and delimited by menus in both the digital and the analogue world of “messaging,” the increasingly circumscribed and xenophobic discourse of politics and public policy, and the barbed-wire garrisons we found with our constructs of identity.
Mashing up the lexicon of war with post-industrial consumerism, haute cuisine, couture, language, Eros and desire, Karasick’s sixth book serves up a linguistic onslaught of plastic explosives. Whether exploring commas as the mistresses of language, rules of textual engagement read through systems of courtship, a love song to Osama bin Laden, or a sassy send-up of Hollywood Kabbalah, Amuse Bouche is at once dark and satirical, exuberant and amorously rigourous—it will make your body politic tremble, your head spin and your mouth water. Her Katyusha-garnished, encrusted margins will leave you salivating long after the bomb, that ever-present yet elusive threat of instantaneous deconstruction, has dropped into our moveable feast, and silenced the babble of tongues our global discourse has become.