in the introduction to their book 'Creative Criticism, An Anthology and Guide'* Stephen Benson and Claire Connors describe a pair of objects we made for the cover of their book as 'already-made'. The hyphenated phrase is coined in obvious reference to Marcel Duchamp's term 'readymade' - everyday objects renamed and appropriated as art. The objects we make acknowledge this lineage but Benson and Connors' term differentiates something with its 'al' and '-'. They describe our objects as not having been present before, 'a before in which they weren't', a 'before' which they make for themselves, a 'before' that is cast 'back behind them'. What are the differences between a 'readymade' and an 'already-made'? What are the similarities? Certainly the hyphen performs an important function - 'readymade' is a conflation of 'ready' and 'made', whereas with 'already-made', 'already' and 'made' are held apart and together simultaneously. 'Made' is common to both, but what is the difference between 'already' and 'ready'? The online dictionary Dictionary.com defines 'ready' as 'completelypreparedorinfitconditionforimmediateactionoruse'* and can be an adjective, verb or noun. It can qualify an object (in this case the made 'thing'), it can describe an action (I am ready), a state of being (state of readiness), or something that occurs (readiness happens), or it can be a name for something. It is only when one tries to define a 'readymade' one realises how deliberately slippery Duchamp's term is. So what does 'already' differentiate? 'Already' is perhaps a conflation of 'all' and 'ready', it could have been hyphenated over time, but it has significantly different use to 'all ready'. 'All ready' suggests previously-prepared, previously-prepared for 'something', whereas 'already', an adverb, can be thought of as being 'prior to' a specific 'now', or 'then', but not prepared for 'something'. 'Already' is adverbially waiting to connect to something - to alter, or nuance some-thing in some way. Benson and Connors further-define our already-mades describing them as obstinately and 'madly prepostional'. The online dictionary Dictionary.com defines 'prepostional' as:
Applying this definition to our objects one might equate them with visual phrases that are formed to modify and locate (or perhaps re-locate) the things, people and places that they encounter. One might think that in the encounter with them, they pull pre-judgements of things, people, or places back to a before. They open up a thinking space for new thoughts to happen. We would argue that all the objects we make do this, but when things are made outside of a commission, or context, it might be that they are in a 'before' that has not yet found a present to cast back from. It is in this sense that these objects are pre-positional.