Ilona Gaynor


Numbers Station
Book Object

Design and Authorship for Max Goldfarb 


Reported throughout the past century “numbers stations” are shortwave radio stations which broadcast chains of numbers, believed to be encryptions intended for intelligence officers in the field. Working at these blurry boundaries between transmission/degradation, signal/noise, and fact/fiction, Goldfarb’s project reveals the shaky foundations of knowledge production as a constant play between understanding and misunderstanding, path dependency, and new possibility.

Numbers Station re-positions and re-codes what may be understood about familiar images and forms, their potential readings, meanings, and purpose. The works evoke archaeological ruins, exploring the relationship between an object and its model, the differences between authentic form and its replicated double. The ecology of things presented in Numbers Station are activated as operational language: sculptural facsimiles, substitutions, metonyms, approximations or alternates which create disturbances in transmission.

The book-object is designed to examine the work as a system for the close observation and potential reading of artifacts origin and facsimile while also straining the abilities to index unbounded cultural materials. Designed without cover markings (in silver plike) the book also serves as an artefect; a stacked collection of 50 copies that is hidden within the exhibition itself.