written by Sean Lowry, Unlikely: Journal for Creative Arts, October, 2016
For Brooklyn-based artist Tariku Shiferaw, for example, a placeholder is a symbolic device within the language of painting. For Shiferaw, given that the mathematical symbol of “X” is an unknown variable until decoded (and redundant once decoded), it can be playfully used as a “temporary placeholder for an unknown variable” (Kukielski, 2014).
Considered within the context of broader spans of history and deep time, all markers placed by human beings are likely temporary. Ultimately, the borders of nations, institutions and communities alike, together with the signs, objects and markers used to denote them, are artificial constructs used to delineate consensually imagined and socially defined entities. For some artists, it is in places undergoing rapid change where the illusion of permanence is most clearly revealed.
Tariku Shiferaw, Space-X, 2015