On Haylesian Materiality

In an article on her own updated approach to “materiality” that appeared at Digital Humanities Quarterly a few years ago, Johanna Drucker, observes the following about the concept’s varying usage: The history of approaches to materiality is long and complex, with basic discussions of matter and form, substance and essence, traceable to earliest antiquity in many strains of philosophy in the west and the east, and these wait in the wings to be called back onstage in any longer discussion of the topic. I’ve been digging through some of the…

A Viewing

In the spring, the library staff at my institution made its usual solicitation for end-of-year purchases, particularly wants of the pricier variety. I approached our departmental liaison with an unusual request: artists’ books. As suggested in some earlier posts (particularly the unfinished “Reading Labs” thread), I have been thinking quite a bit about artists’ books in recent years, and I’ve been looking for ways to introduce them in my teaching. The very-easy-to-refuse offer that I made to the library staff was for the establishment of a small collection of artists’…

Reading LABs (Part 1)

Anne Carson’s Nox         Defining the essentials of artist-bookery is a Sisyphean chore, as everyone who has written anything worth reading about artists’ books readily acknowledges. Book artists employ no standard printing method or machinery. Contributors are not bound by a particular set of materials or building codes. There’s no exact minimum (or maximum, for that matter) degree of involvement demanded of designers in the physical process of creation. Limited edition printings, photocopies, and one of a kinds are all acceptable. The most influential formulation, Johanna Drucker’s,…

Tree of Codes and the Denaturalization of Reading

This post is offered by Sheldon Campbell, a recent graduate of Wheaton College and practitioner¬†of the book arts. The post was originally prepared as a paper response to a class discussion of Tree of Codes as a “literary artist’s book.” “Sculptural and Textual Interplay in Tree of Codes” Tree of Codes is an unusual book. We can’t talk about the text of this book without also talking about it’s shape, it’s sculptural qualities. It’s more than just a book with cool pages. Foer exploits the structure of this book to…