Janks Archive on The Last Billboard, a project curated by Jon Rubin, Pittsburgh, PA. 2014.
Janks Archive is a collection of put-downs recited by people from around the world, presented as a web database and video installation. Inspired by the efforts of archivists, such as Harry Smith and Alan Lomax, our goal is to archive insulting jokes from as many cultures as possible; blurring the lines between media art, folklore, anthropology, and comedy. Janks Archive is a collaboration between Jerstin Crosby, Ben Kinsley, and Jessica Langley.
The term “janks” is a colloquialism that describes a style of tongue-in-cheek gibes, cut-downs, or comebacks and was common to the part of southeastern Alabama where Crosby grew up. For the archive, janks is an obscure title, used loosely to collect a wide variety of culturally and, perhaps, geographically specific quips, however lewd, crass, or innocent. The Janks Archive is an exercise of remembering as much as it is a process of documenting these verbal offenses which exist in collective consciousness. Our ultimate goal is to amass a collection of videos capturing people from around the world telling their best janks.