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Character Count

Paola Jalili

Description of work

Character Count, 2017
A6 page extracted from a book on Cézanne’s art, intervened by hand

The page presented here is an attempt to count the total and exact number of characters on a single page of a book. The total number is written at the bottom of the page.

The work is a reflection on editorial work and its repetitive and bureaucratic nature, which often places profits and commercial viability above artistic quality or cultural value.

Following Walter de Maria’s Meaningless Work, which encourages artists to perform “work which does not make money or accomplish a conventional purpose,” Character Count seeks to question a culture industry ruled by efficiency, productivity, and capital.

*This work was originally made during a workshop in Reposaari in 2017, and it was inspired by Verna Kovanen and Krista Seppälä’s project on the lost tradition of siesta in the island.


Paola Jalili (b. 1991, Mexico City) is a publisher, visual artist, and researcher currently based in Helsinki. She works with a variety of visual media to reflect on her main research interests: work, labor, and gender. Paola has exhibited in Finland and abroad, individually and in collaboration with other artists and designers. In 2017, she co-founded the independent publishing project quince ediciones together with Daniel Bolívar. In her self-publishing practice, Paola experiments with do-it-yourself production methods, and aims to reach criticality through small, quiet, and humorous minutiae.