Archived entries for

Radio Silence

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Hello, readers.
I just wanted to post to let you know that we’ll be posting again soon. It’s that crazy time of year in the spring semester when everyone is kind of zombie-like. But we have been making books. And meeting. And discussing book things. So posts will resume again soon!

Experimental Book Show!

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If you happen to be in Michigan between now and June 15th, make your way to Ypsilanti (the eastern part of the state) to see this awesome new show at the Ford Gallery (Eastern Michigan University). According to the site:

The exhibition investigates the role of the book in the contemporary art world. For this show, the curators have expanded on the traditional definition of a book: they have defined the term ”book” loosely as a vehicle for information that is organized into ”sections.” The exhibition includes unique traditional books, altered books, sculptural books, digital books, and installation-, photography-, and performance-based books.

The idea of this show seems important for a few reasons. First, while I’m somewhat ambivalent about the book entering into the gallery (books are meant to be held, touched, experienced, after all), I think it’s important to elevate them to the level of the gallery in terms of of cultural perception. Museums seem to imply culture and history for us (ie. importance), so of course books should live there. (Print is not dead.) And then, the concept of the artist’s book seems to be to challenge traditional notions of what a book might be. Or what it might contain. Or what it might do. Materials, form, scale, palette, content all work to provoke these questions.

Murmur Study from Christopher Baker on Vimeo.

One of my favorite pieces is this documentation called Murmur Study by Christopher Baker, which records Twitter feeds of “common emotional utterances” like ewww. Receipt, running record as book. Twitter meets book. What can this mean? Perhaps this piece is a way for humans, the human brain/body, to absorb the pace of something like Twitter. Anyway, if you can’t make it to the show, definitely check out the website, which links to all of the artists involved. The idea itself just makes me want to hop a plane.

New in Artists’ Books: Sanctus Sonorensis

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To kick off a new column on our blog (showcasing new publications in artists’ books), let’s start with none other than our very own Philip Zimmermann, a book artist, teacher, thinker and all-around interesting human.

Started seven years ago at the Border Art Residency in New Mexico, Sanctus Sonorensis emerged from Phil’s interest and observations in the landscape and the complex issues surrounding border crossings. The first edition of the book was published in 2006 while at a residency at Light Work in Syracuse, New York, and was printed by inkjet.

Because the book consists of a series of landscape photographs by Phil, he envisioned another edition in the form of a board book, which allows images to span the gutter without the interruption of a sewn signature. But also, Phil likes to push the borders of what a book is and what a form can do. Here are some of his own words:

“I decided to emphasize the missal-breviary-beatitude idea by making it look like a sort of high tech version of those Catholic book forms. I added gilded edges, the rounded corners and the gold-foil stamped titles to have a visual association with religious books. The text is meant to be read out loud as if by priest or an acolyte standing in front of a congregation (and maybe even repeated back by their flock), and I wanted the book to have the right kind of look (or bling) for that task.”

Two-page spread from book’s interior. (Source: Philip Zimmermann.)

The book becomes a sort of prayer; a really beautiful, slow meditation whose point of departure perhaps originated at the border, but ends in a contemplation of humanity. Phil presents a kind of sympathetic view towards all of the involved humans, while clearly asking us to reexamine our own value systems. And I’m happy to have it in my collection.

You can read more about the process of making the book here and you can purchase the book directly from Phil for $50 (+ tax and shipping) by emailing him. I highly recommend doing this.

Lovely Little Video

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I’m guessing you’ve probably seen this by now but I love this video so much, I thought we should post it here. This is a video by Abigail Uhteg, taking us through the making of an artist’s book at the Women’s Studio Workshop in upstate New York, which I had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago. A dedicated little place, with deeply interesting bookmakers and beautifully crafted book-forms.

Copyright 2010, Book Art Collective.

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