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An XML translation of Dan Graham’s Schema

Featured in the Rhizome.org Artbase

Schema was originally published in issue 5+6 of Aspen magazine. It is now being archived at UbuWeb and can be viewed here.

In 1966 conceptual artist Dan Graham composed a language based work entitled Schema. The artwork consisted of a formal procedure for how to describe a document, or a “set of pages,” with no real reference to the content of that document. This schema, as he called it, shares a remarkable similarity with XML, invented over 30 years later.

The conceptual artists of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s were interested in the nonvisual abstraction of art and how artworks might be represented as information. Using language in a non-literary and non-poetic manner, they sought to continue the tradition of visual artists in a search for abstraction and minimalism. Many conceptual works of this time were simply words on paper, instructions, or thought experiments. Schema allowed the viewer to be aware of the material nature and structure of the document they were holding – as well as any document they might hold. Using XML, I have created a machine-readable translation of his important 1966 work.

##SET_OF_PAGES.dtd

< ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>  
< !ELEMENT SET (PAGE+)>  
< !ELEMENT PAGE (TEXT)>  
< !ATTLIST PAGE  
PERIMETER CDATA #REQUIRED  
PAPER_STOCK CDATA #IMPLIED  
PAPER_WEIGHT CDATA #IMPLIED>

< !ELEMENT TEXT (COLUMN+)>  
< !ATTLIST TEXT  
PERCENT\_OF\_PAGE CDATA #REQUIRED  
FONT CDATA #REQUIRED  
DEPRESSIONS\_ON\_SURFACE CDATA #IMPLIED  
FONT_SIZE CDATA #REQUIRED>

< !ELEMENT COLUMN (LINE+)>  
< !ELEMENT LINE (WORD+)>  
< !ELEMENT WORD (DATA)>  
< !ELEMENT DATA (#PCDATA) >  
< !ATTLIST WORD  
CAPITALIZED (YES | NO) "NO"  
ITALICIZED (YES | NO) "NO"  
NUMBER\_OF\_LETTERS CDATA #REQUIRED  
PART\_OF\_SPEECH (ADJECTIVE | ADVERB | CONJUNCTION | GERUND | INFINITIVE | NOUN | MATH_SYMBOL | NUMERAL | PREPOSITION | PRONOUN | PARTICIPLE | NA) "NA">

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