Bookmarking Book Art – Eric Gjerde

Specimens, 2016 Close-up of finished pressed page. Laser cut text pressed within 5 layers of bio-paper to form one large single sheet. © Eric Gjerde

Specimens, 2016
Close-up of finished pressed page. Laser cut text pressed within 5 layers of bio-paper to form one large single sheet.
© Eric Gjerde

Specimens is the first of its kind: a book created with a new bio-paper medium made entirely from bacterial cellulose. Its pages were once alive.

The quality of this new paper, which I developed over the past seven years, is its unparalleled strength and transparency. Each sheet is grown in a vat and harvested after several weeks. After processing, many layers — five or more — are laid on top of one another with the text block carefully placed within. Then the entire stack is pressed. The act of pressing these sheets is what gives them their strength.

Trapped forever within the thin lamina of Specimens’ pages is the poetry of e.e. cummings. The challenge of retaining the poet’s complex typographic wordplay required a new approach for placing text. Drawing upon my fascination with Voronoi tessellations — the natural pattern of cell structures in all living things — I created custom software to generate a Voronoi framework that would hold the text in place. The text block was then laser-cut from Korean hanji.

I would like to thank the Jerome Foundation and Minnesota Center for Book Arts for the opportunity and support to explore this exciting new medium. (Artist’s statement)

Gjerde’s Specimens exhibition — November 2016 through February 2017 —  continues in the new tradition of bio art.  One of the earliest and abiding proponents has been George Gessert. Since the 1980s, Gessert and artists/theorists such as Suzanne Anker, Eduardo Kac, Marta De Menezes, the Harrisons and Sonya Rapoport have constituted the bio art and eco art movements.  A collection of his essays appeared as Green Light: Toward an Art of Evolution in the Leonardo Book Series, published by The MIT Press in 2010.

More recently Dr. Simon F. Park’s  The Origin of Species was touted as  perhaps “the first book to be grown and produced using just bacteria”. Presented at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, the small book has pages made of bacterial cellulose, produced by the bacterium Gluconoacetobacter xylinus (GXCELL). Its cover is even printed with naturally pigmented bacteria.

Artist: Dr. Simon F Park The Origin of Species "The small book shown here was grown from and made entirely from bacteria. Not only is the fabric of its pages (GXCELL) produced by bacteria, but the book is also printed and illustrated with naturally pigmented bacteria. " Posted 27 March 2016 Photo credit: Dr. Simon F. Park

The Origin of Species
Posted 27 March 2016
Photo credit: Dr. Simon F. Park

The process underlying Gjerde’s work and its material inspiration — the bio-paper, e.e.cummings’ poetry, Voronoi tessellations and the software-driven Voronoi framework to hold the text block in place — are beautifully explored on his site.

The Voronoi framework is evocative of traditional papermaking technology. Here instead of the “deckle” — the wooden frame holding the mesh on which fibers are caught up from the soupy mash to form a sheet of paper — the Voronoi framework holds the text block between the laminations of the bio-paper.

The union of concept, process and the quality of the work make Specimens an outstanding work.

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Bookmarking Book Art – Mary Ann Santin

Australian artist Mary Ann Santin studied at the Adelaide Central School of Art and has exhibited at the State Library of South Australia, the Miele Gallery and Loreto Spring Art Show. Her techniques and themes echo those of Jessica Drenk, Guy Laramee and Georgia Russell.

A5 green, 2012 found encyclopaedia, paraffin wax, dye 21cm x 15cm x 5cm

A5 green, 2012
found encyclopaedia,
paraffin wax, dye
21cm x 15cm x 5cm

"1962", 2012 Sanded work  Found encyclopaedia 28cm x 92cm x 13cm

“1962”, 2012
Sanded work
Found encyclopaedia
28cm x 92cm x 13cm

Spring two, 2012 Books in rubber and glass

Spring two, 2012
Books in rubber and glass

Material investigations were also an important process in the search for the most relevant means to suspend, submerge, and cover-up objects and paintings. Books treated as if they were blocks of wood, paper erasures buried under paint, and print techniques on glass allowed the metamorphosis of forms or objects to embody these ideas of absence denoting presence.

I see my body of work as a positive process of repurposing objects and old paintings that no longer fear the loss of remembrance. That holding pattern between grief and loss remains suspended within memory and our day- to- day acknowledgement of their existence. This sense of quiet melancholy finally gives way to acceptance and permission to start anew.

See more of Mary Ann Santin’s work here.

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Bookmarking Book Art – J. Meejin Yoon

Absence is a poignant work of book art by J. Meejin Yoon, architect, designer, educator, Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  A simple video demonstrating the work appears here at the site of the Otis College of Art and Design. This book|object was published by Printed Matter, Inc. and the Whitney Museum of Art in 2004 when Yoon was an Assistant Professor at MIT.

Absence © J. Meejin Yoon, 2004

Absence
© J. Meejin Yoon, 2004

As you hold this small white brick of paper and turn its thick pages, a small pinhole appears on the page. Then two larger square holes emerge, one of which falls over the pinhole. Page after page, the two square holes repeat, creating two small dark wells in the field of white, until on the last page they take their place in the cut-out schematic footprint of the city blocks and buildings surrounding the Twin Towers. What you hold in your hands at the end is an object of art and book of memorial prayer.

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Bookmarking Book Art – Colette Fu

12 January 2017 — The Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy’s Percent for Art Program (OACCE) and the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) announced the commission of eight tunnel book dioramas from Philadelphia-based artist Colette Fu to be installed in the bookshelves of the renovated Parkway Central Branch.

© Colette Fu Different views of a proposed tunnel book, with different lighting and layers.

© Colette Fu
Different views of a proposed tunnel book, with different lighting and layers.

“For Ms. Fu, the work is three-fold: ‘My hope is to first, emphasize that there is a line of continuity in the book form as it moves from more historic book forms, including movable books, to modern day iPads, cellphones, and Kindles.  Second, I want to give visibility to the field of book arts, and to show that a book can possess interesting qualities beyond its text, specifically through printing methods, paper choice, and the binding.  Lastly, I want to commemorate the book, the library, the artist book, Philadelphia, and most of all the stacks that are being permanently removed from the library.'”

For examples of Fu’s dramatic pop-up book art, visit her blog.

For Fu’s interview with Steve Miller (University of Alabama), download the podcast from iTunes:

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Bookmarking Book Art — Leilei Guo

Leilei Guo is an artist from Beijing.  A few years ago, I had the good fortune to meet her at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where she was standing among her works.

She drew my attention to The Way, a large volume open to a double-page spread on a shelf in the corner of the stand.

On each page of The Way is a square woodblock print, consisting of the Chinese character for Tao superimposed on a red figure. As the reader moves forward in the book, a darkening silkscreened wash gradually blots out the character.

Artist: Leilei Guo Work: The Way, 2008 Dimensions: 13.625 x 12.75"; 88 pages Material: Woodcut and silkscreen on rice paper. Concertina structure. Bound in cloth, front board in white, back board in black.

Artist: Leilei Guo
Work: The Way, 2008
Dimensions: 13.625 x 12.75″; 88 pages
Material: Woodcut and silkscreen on rice paper. Concertina structure. Bound in cloth, front board in white, back board in black.

Artist: Leilei Guo Work: The Way, 2008 Dimensions: 13.625 x 12.75"; 88 pages Material: Woodcut and silkscreen on rice paper. Concertina structure. Bound in cloth, front board in white, back board in black.

Artist: Leilei Guo
Work: The Way, 2008
Dimensions: 13.625 x 12.75″; 88 pages
Material: Woodcut and silkscreen on rice paper. Concertina structure. Bound in cloth, front board in white, back board in black.

She stepped aside to let me look closer. After I had turned a few pages in the usual way, I commented on the heft of what seemed to be uncut pages. Laid flat in its double-page spread with the sharpness of the fold and weight of the paper apparently sinking into its spine, the book did not immediately betray its leporello structure. She gently moved my hands away and inserted her hand in the fold between the two pages.

Artist: Leilei Guo Work: The Way, 2008 Dimensions: 13.625 x 12.75"; 88 pages Material: Woodcut and silkscreen on rice paper. Concertina structure. Bound in cloth, front board in white, back board in black.

Artist: Leilei Guo
Work: The Way, 2008
Dimensions: 13.625 x 12.75″; 88 pages
Material: Woodcut and silkscreen on rice paper. Concertina structure. Bound in cloth, front board in white, back board in black.

Then, performing a traditional gesture of Tai Chi, she moved her hand to and fro without removing it from between the fold, and the pages turned or rather flowed and folded, each over the next, as if of their own accord.  Gesturing from one side to the other and then back, again and again, she moved the print toward its opacity or clarity, depending on the direction. When she closed the volume, I could see that the board on one side was white, the board on the other, black.

 

According to the Vamp&Tramp’s website, which handled the work’s sale, the book embodies the artist’s vision of two strands of Chinese philosophy — Tao, or The Way, and Yin Yang. For me, that embodiment was in that moment in Frankfurt where another kind of printed book had its origin. Hand, movement, pages, ink, binding, the art were one.

For more of Leilei Guo’s art, visit the Vamp&Tramp site or the artist’s site.

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Bookmark – HYPNOCAROMACHIA _9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9

 

from Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, 1499 University of Glasgow

from Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, 1499
University of Glasgow

Last year 2015 was the 500th anniversary of the death of Aldus Manutius, publisher of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili -“Poliphilo’s Dream of Strife with Love” -(1499). To mark the start of the second half millennium of the evolving book, we have an untitled online work as erudite, vulgar and almost bewildering appearing on Reddit (“the front page of the internet”):

[WP] Dreams are a manifestation of your desires whether they are overt, subconscious, or otherwise. Tell me of the man who does not dream.by DJ_Incognito in WritingPrompts

[–]_9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9 [score hidden] 3 hours ago

V.O. SCRIPT:

Rachel does not dream. Rachel does not sleep. Rachel does not wake.

Rachel feels! All the time!

Rachel Head has a direct sense feed with Reinhardt Emotive FPS Blending™ for stunning clarity and total sensory presence. With the entire cultural library at her fingertips, Rachel can put herself into any scenario and create precision mixes at speed-of-mind.

And so it goes for entry after entry – a melange of characters and voices, whose utterances are attached as responses to postings in Reddit and coalesce into a sci-fi horror story that you might only find if you were a voracious Renaissance Reddit reader or clicked on the author’s name or if you were to come across The Interface Serieswhere other Reddit users have collected and annotated the entries.

“Interface” comes from the author’s recurrent theme of “flesh interface”:

TIL that after flights were grounded on 9/11, one plane was allowed to fly. It carried anti-venom from San Diego to Florida to save the life of a snake keeper suffering from a deadly taipan bite. The only other taipan anti-venom was in New York. by KidLando in todayilearned

[–]_9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9 70 points 5 days ago*

Of all the children who had been returned from the portals, only one survived in the long term, though we didn’t even realize it until years later. She had been stolen (or rescued) from us by a rogue technician shortly after return and was thus lost to us for many years. We finally found her in Estonia and kidnapped her from her adoptive family in the middle of the night. She was seven when we lost her and thirteen when we found her again.

We did a preliminary interview, and she seemed normal in every respect. Mind you, this was a girl who entered a massive, possibly alien, biological device called a flesh interface, disappeared from existence for several minutes, then returned incased in an amniotic sac, attached to a placenta via umbilical cord with enough LSD in her bloodstream to turn all of Utah in one massive orgy. Naturally, we expected some sort of mental changes, especially since every child who returned from the portals had showed signs of mental aberration. Then again, every other child had died shortly after return, so she was clearly something special.

So “flesh” prompts the suggested title Hypnocaromachia – “Dream of Strife with Flesh”, which is not nearly as improvisational as the Netflix-style jump cuts from the Reddit postings that the author uses to spark each new entry. “Tell me of the man who does not dream”? How about Rachel who “feels! All the time!”

Like the identity of the author of Hypnerotomachia, the identity of the author of Hypnocaromachia (_9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9) is a mystery.  Unlike the profusely and beautifully illustrated book of 1499, Hypnocaromachia is pure text.  I suppose that, in lieu, it arrives in gobbets of those seemingly non-sequitur responses to other postings on Reddit surrounded by advertising eye candy. It would have been as if the weekly serializations of Dickens’ Hard Times in Household Words (1854) had been inserted at the end of an article in The Age in Melbourne one week, tacked on to another in Harper’s Weekly in New York the next, popped into The Illustrated London News the next, and so on.

Hardtimes_serial_cover

 

440px-The_Age_first_edition,_Melbourne_Museum

545191742.0.l

Illustrated_London_News_-_front_page_-_first_edition

But there was no publishing technology available for such sowing, reaping or garnering then. Will Reddit be around 162 years from now? If so, we may be reading it (or interfacing with it) from our “hygiene beds” according to _9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9.

I built a World Map dining room table. by Zending in DIY

[–]_9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9 83 points 2 days ago

Consider this case:

A woman. 28 years old. Lives in a bed-rack apartment block in Alabama. She has engaged in heavy feed use since childhood, spending 70 to 80% of her free time connected. At age 16 she finds global success as mix guide, netting her a considerable sum of money. One day, when she is 19 years old, she connects to her feed. She does not disconnect again for 9 years.

9 years of continuous feed. 9 years without any direct human contact. 9 years alone in a hygiene bed. Dreaming.

Meanwhile, her feed is a veritable flurry of digital contact: mixes, life stories, role swaps, rooms, hunts, avatar makers, empathy games, sex play, and on and on. For a while, her mix tours sell well, and she enjoys her celebrity. But over the years, tastes changes, and her income falls. Try as she might, she cannot revive her popularity. She tries sortieing, tutoring, crowd matching, whatever will make her money. But the competition in these markets is harsh, and she has significant debts to several promotion companies. Her money runs out. She manages to credit bounce for a while, but the writing is on the wall: she must disconnect.

More on this cross between William Gibson and Philip K. Dick can be found here in The Guardian and previously online at Motherboard.

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Bookmarking Book Art – Helen Douglas, Podcast by Bookbinding Now

On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of Weproductions, Brandon Graham interviewed by Helen Douglas in 2011.  The podcast provided by Bookbinding Now is available here and is a companion piece to Journal of Artist Books, No. 30.

Douglas’s comments on the concertina or leporello form reveal the impact of Proust and Chinese scrolls on her use of it, which is particularly evident in the two-sided concertina In Mexico: in the Garden of Edward James, discussed here.

Helen Douglas, In Mexico: in the garden of Edward James, 2014 (reviewed in Der Tagesspeigel)

Helen Douglas, In Mexico: in the garden of Edward James, 2014 (reviewed in Der Tagesspeigel)

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