I have a question about the Sisyphus book you had in the Noosa Book show in 2006? Interested in including it an a paper and PhD.
My question relates to the production origin - it appeared to me to be a print-on-demand book based on the kind of books that photographers use for client albums.
Am I correct in this?
Hear from you
I've had to divide the message up (I'm too long winded for this form of communication!)
You asked about the Bristol document. What I wrote in my previous comment didn't come across the right way. The ABTREE diagram is all about categories. But when I said they were putting everything into one big group, I meant that they were trying to come up with 'a canon' that encompassed almost every possibility. There's kind of a strange paradox in a project that tries to combine everything that has the slightest connection with the concept of a book and then parse it back down into a multitude of categories. My initial comment was prompted by the picture of the bottle top badge, with some text from a romance novel. For me that example was stretching the idea of a book arts/artist book canon a bit too far. (As a maker, thus far, of one-off books I might have also been reacting a bit to the comment about one-off experimentally bound books made at home. I don't think the bottle top badge is obviously 'art'. It could just as easily be read as an etsy, crafty production. But that's a different matter.)
I think what they are trying to do is interesting, but it seems to me that there's a lot of slippage in the categories they have incorporated into the abtree diagram. You could argue that their categories of 'artisan' and 'artists' books' are about context, but in that case, I don't see the logic of sitting them alongside of 'ephemeral' and 'digital'. I'm sure that there is a more formal way of explaining this, but it seems to me that they are different orders of things.
The same kind of contradiction occurs as you progress further down the tree. So, for example, under 'artist's books' you have 'pamphlet', which is a form; and 'altered', which is a methodology/intention; and 'digitally printed', which is a mode of production. To me this is flawed logic.
I'll be interested to see what you do with the POD possibilities. I like the idea of incorporating the material qualities of that particular means of production into the meaning of a book.
My fascination with categories is a kind of love-hate thing. On the one hand, they can be used to pigeonhole, marginalise or trivialise things that are outside of the mainstream. On the other, if you accept the idea that the way we understand things by comparing them with others, they are useful.
Howard Becker wrote the book 'Art Worlds'. He's a sociologist who is looking at the structures and interactions that make up an art world. It's really about context - and that is where I think categories can be useful. If you think about the Libris exhibition, it included works that were coming from quite different contexts, works that could be seen as belonging in different categories: the zines and the fine printing for example. I think we spoke briefly about the zines and the zine prize. To my mind, that was an example of evaluation criteria appropriate to one context or category being applied inappropriately to a different category.
I'm gnashing my teeth here in Wagga. I'd almost completed a message to you when it disappeared into the ether.
With respect to books that are for looking at, I had a closer look at the stitched scroll in the Libris award exhibition. As far as I could see, the only words on it were the ones I could see when it was displayed. At that point, I stopped thinking of it as a book. For me, the things you identify - sequences/series, narratives/non-narratives - in a page turning (or unrolling) structure are some of the essential characteristics of the form.
The idea of two versions of a book is something I've thought about too, although the use of POD to facilitate it hadn't occurred to me. The question for me is what this does if the physical properties of the book (paper or other materials) are part of its meaning. But that's a very particular issue. Apart from that, it's an interesting way to resolve the problem of accessibility. Are you going to try it?
I'm quite fascinated by categories (not hierarchies), as you may have gathered from my talk. Often this is seen as an attempt to close things off from one another and I guess the Bristol work is the extreme opposite of that, putting everything into one big group. But I don't think lumping everything together IS useful. As you say, the end result is likely to be incomprehension and frustration. That's where Becker and the idea of relationships and categories can be useful. It can be used to highlight similarities and differences, opening up spaces for conversation and facilitating that mutual appreciation you talk about.
PS. Do go on...
Hi again Lyn. I'm still getting my head around this way of communicating and I'm not quite sure where to start with all the ideas your paper raised. One question I'd have liked to ask is how you think readers/viewers (handlers?) might become accustomed to 'new reading', especially when we aren't good at slow looking and when handling of books is discouraged. Do you think there are difficulties associated with the fact that the work being made under the umbrella of book art is so varied? I think about this in relation to zines, for example. What does a person from the fine print/fine binding end of things make of a photocopied, grungy give away zine?
thank you very much on two accounts...for agreeing to do be profiled plus, for requesting a subscription of the Australian Book Arts Journal! I will send you a form asap and hope to hear from you soon. I think we look for ways to express the 'other' things we do, the prints, the photos, the designs we concoct through discovering ourselves...and the book has shown itself to be a more than appropriate means of doing this. Le livre has such a connection to the viewer/reader/audience that it comes with signifiers of its own. Till we talk again...take care. linda
Hi Lyn. I'd have liked to talk to you some more at Mackay about your ideas around new literacies, but I didn't want you to think I was stalking you!
I think there are some parallels between what you said about Mallarme's layout, use of typefaces and so on and the things I've been chewing over with respect to the meaning of materials - and also the brief conversation we had about the zines in the show. I would also be interested in your thoughts about the Floating World book which I think it quite remarkable in the way it experiments with layout/format. If you are interested in talking some more about this, let me know (email@example.com).
Lyn, it was great to meet you at the Focus on Books V in Mackay. Your book was incredible, a treat as each page opened. such a revellation that you have set yourself another precedent!!! I hope we see more of your work soon and perhaps you would be interested in being profiled in a future issue of the Australian Book Arts Journal. Early next year, the issue is Men of the Book. think about whether you have a window of time when you could write something about your work. Linda Douglas