Magnus Rosengarten: Before I saw your show at Steven Kasher, I read Blind Spot and had access to all 150 pictures. Being in the gallery space after that first read, with a selection of thirty-two pictures, the framing was especially striking to me. You chose to clearly divide written text from conventional image with a thin wooden line, a frame within the frame, so to say. Why?
Teju Cole: It was deeply satisfying to find a physical form that conveyed the essential idea of this work: there are images and then there is a voiceover, words that are speaking to these images. How do you make this visible? We are so used to going to a gallery and seeing an image with a caption, but in this case the text is not an explanation – it is actually part of the work. I could frame one of the texts by itself, and it resonates as a conceptual work. But now in fact you have two images, and one is legible in a certain way, as a picture, and the other is legible in a more conventional way, as a text. So it’s not just a text acting as a voiceover: It is also a picture. As a visual artist, which I am, I could present my work simply as photographs. But I also know that I’m a novelist and an essayist. Words are a highly honed part of my practice. Why deprive myself of that opportunity to be an image-maker who also works with words?