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.
< ?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">