Portable Document Format
480 px. x 200 in.
Color illustrations
File size: approx. 5.3 MB
January 2014


IRL takes the form of a mood board wrapper with an interview inside.

“JEQU: When artists reject the mandate to be “critical”, they sometimes do so because it is perceived to inhibit their right to sell work and participate in the market system with a clear conscience. They think they are thus defending their right to “live well.” One strategy often employed is that of the artist who spends the first part of his or her career outside of this system in order to build avant-gardist credibility, and then later chooses at a certain point to participate in the traditional market/gallery structure without constraint. In this way, the artist has the best of both worlds—a reputation that is consecrated as being against the market and established norms, and then a realistic opportunity to make money within that system. What would you say about this strategy—is it a contradiction or a pure response?

LUC BOLTANSKI: That’s not a question, it’s a response. I think they are totally right.”

In 2010, JEQU hosted Luc Boltanski at Artists Space to engage him on the meaning and future of artistic critique through the framework he set forth in The New Spirit of Capitalism (Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, 1999) and On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation (Boltanski, 2009). IRL (In Real Life) compiles further conversations with Boltanski following the presentation that year.

Where interviews enact a fantasy of controlling the world by talking about it, mood boards seek to conjure sensation. The images in IRL offer a circuit of stimulations towards physical and emotional states of direct sensorial engagement, giving the reader a feeling tone as they scroll the document.

IRL is a portable document format publication. The specifications are determined by the width of a smart phone and the maximum length of a PDF at the time of publish, allowing each section to run uninterrupted as a series of three sequential scrolling pages. The moodboard section is assembled by a script to produce an infinite combination of images to create unique documents upon each download.

IRL is introduced with a text by JEQU (Howie Chen and Jason Kakoyiannis) and includes an interview conducted by Laura Mitterrand on behalf of JEQU. IRL was designed by Scott Ponik.

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