You wouldn’t normally expect a copy of The Sun here on the Journal, but this is no ordinary issue of the UK’s best-selling daily newspaper. It’s one of a series of newspapers produced by artist Joseph Ernst, a series that also includes The Times, New York Times, Die Zeit and Le Monde.
Each is an exact reproduction of an actual copy of the newspaper, with all the content deleted. Only the masthead and ghostly image boxes, tint panels and rules remain, dividing the page into sections that identify the otherwise empty pages as a newspaper. ‘We live in a world of constant sensory overload,’ explains Ernst, ‘we are bombarded with information in real time by every media outlet and platform competing for our attention. This project offers a little respite to all this information overload.’
Succesful as it is as a critique of our contemporary media culture, Nothing in the News is also fascinating for the way the precision of the work mimicks the original newspapers. Ernst doesn’t want to reveal the actual date of the originals for fear of rendering the project ‘old’ before it’s started, but he assures me each edition is an exact physical replica of a particular issue of each paper. ‘I guarantee you they are literally carbon copies.’ And indeed the paper, format and design structures all appear spot on. These look and feel impressively like the originals, no corners cut.
It’s the multiple successes of the Nothing in the News series that makes them our Magazine of the Week: a serious point is being made, some fun is being had, and we’re being reminded of the power of the printed object. The inked words have been deleted but the remaining structures remind us of the mediation underlying all news, while the paper retains a physical weight and heft in the hand. It is the newspaper stripped down to its bare mkinimum, a delivery mechanism.
‘We offer the one thing you need more than anything else: “Nothing”. Absolutely nothing. Today, and today only, there is Nothing in the News. Enjoy it whilst you can,’ says Ernst.