Paris Review calls Terms & Conditions a "pop-conceptual curiosity"

“Staff Picks: Codes, Contracts, Coffee Stains” / Paris Review / Nicole Rudick / March 17, 2017

In his new book, the pop-conceptual curiosity Terms and Conditions, R. Sikoryak reproduces the styles of more than a hundred other cartoonists—including Marjane Satrapi, Steve Ditko, Raina Telgemeier, Edward Gorey, and Peyo—one per page, to adapt the text of iTunes’ Terms and Conditions, “the contract everyone agrees to but no one reads.” I can’t say I read it in this form either, but it does make the text occasionally more intriguing, if not readable, highlighting certain phrases in the document that would otherwise remain a haze of letters. Given its own caption box, the line “To agree to these terms, click ‘agree.’ If you do not agree to these terms, do not click ‘agree,’ and do not use these services” reads like a middle finger to the (potential) user. A turtlenecked Steve Jobs populates each comic in the style of the page (as Popeye, Homer Simpson, Ziggy, Wolverine); Sikoryak, too, disappears into these other idioms, and though the parody is impressive, each style remains a simulacrum, lacking the soul of the original. But maybe this is partly the point. Even if it were Ernie Bushmiller at the pen, is it still Sluggo if he tells Nancy, “You may not rent, lease, lend, sell, transfer, redistribute, or sublicense the Licensed Application”? Sikoryak hasn’t attempted to match the action in the panels to the language, so the legalese can’t leech significance from the art. The text becomes a lorem ipsum—placeholder copy that is seen but never read. —Nicole Rudick

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