Martin Art Gallery
R. Sikoryak's iTunes Terms & Conditions
10/02/2015 - 11/02/2015
Credit: Excerpt from The Unabridged Graphic Adaptation: iTunes Terms & Conditions
The ubiquitous software terms and conditions which we tacitly "agree" to on a daily basis are given pause for examination in Sikoryak's latest book. The project employs appropriated popular comic styles ranging from Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey to Mike Mignola's Hellboy, to provide the pictorial structure for speech balloons displaying the iTunes terms and conditions. Familiar characters are faithfully depicted, except that each wears the beard, glasses, and black shirt of Apple icon, Steve Jobs. In each panel, the speech bubble text is inevitably disconnected from typical characters interactions and pat scenes, common in each of the comics.
Terms and conditions of use are commonly placed in software, web interfaces, and seemingly most aspects of our digital lives. These influential agreements govern how we use our own technology, but they largely go unexamined by the majority of users. In contrast, the funny pages are often the first to be read because of their fundamentally digestible nature. Sikoryak highlights this disconnect to powerful effect to emphasize the opacity of this binding agreement. Intentionally ironic, the intention and implications of the iTunes Terms & Conditions are not in any way clarified, despite its pairing along side comic illustrations.
Lighthearted moments often emerge in Sikoryak's vignettes. One can’t help but to try to make sense of the narrative, despite the dense and unrelated legalese juxtaposed next to scenarios from Cathy or The Walking Dead. This new content, often deceptively rich, reminds us that we might be wise to take a more considered approach to what we're agreeing to, before we click "Agree" the next time.
- Paul Nicholson
Cartoonist R. Sikoryak is the author of Masterpiece Comics (Drawn & Quarterly), “Where Classics and Cartoons Collide.” He continues to adapt literary classics for various anthologies, including Drawn and Quarterly, The Graphic Canon, Fable Comics, and Little Nemo's Big New Dreams. His comics and illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, The Onion, GQ, MAD, andSpongeBob Comics, as well as on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He’s done storyboards and character designs for Augenblick Studios on various animated projects. Sikoryak is in the speakers program of the New York Council of the Humanities, and he teaches in the illustration department at Parsons The New School for Design and at The Center for Cartoon Studies. Since 1997, he's presented his live cartoon performance reading series, Carousel, around the United States and Canada.