Sunday, September 25, 2011

London Art Book Fair - Day 2 & Day 3

Day 2
I think my brain is too slow for this mobile blogging. I need to consider things. Let ideas float and settle. It's hard.

Ok, so its Sunday now, Day 3 but I won't be going to the fair again today. I want to write up yesterday and hopefully slip over to Donlon Books to see a display of Sara MacKillop's books (as seen here), because I didn't have time to see it yesterday as I had hoped.

Neither of the talks I had booked to go to were quite what I had expected, but here is a summary none the less:

The Cultural Piracy discussion was still interesting as two of the artists (Andrea Franche & Eva Weinmayr) behind The Piracy Project spoke and they are doing some very interesting research into how other cultures regard copyright and piracy, especially of books, and how there is a certain 'creative space within copying'; I do wish they were able to talk for longer though and more about the Byam Shaw Library where there project started, but I did discover that they have got recordings of some talks and lectures I missed on their website here. Kenneth Goldsmith also spoke about his website which is an online media art archive for want of a better term; but I'm not sure I have much to say on that.

The Developing Digital Content talk was also still interesting but not quite as interesting as I wanted it to be!

There were two speakers at the Digital Content talk, Sophie Rochester, Founder of the Literary Platform and Niels Schrader, a Book Designer. Sophie discussed several books that have been published recently that have also had a digital version created alongside. One of which was published by Visual Editions and is called Composition No. 1 by Marc Saporta; the book version is contained within a box and is unbound. The pages are deliberately loose so that the reader can shuffle the pages and read from any page, in any order and will still get a narrative that makes sense. The ipad app that is being made to go along with the book, or to buy separately, is designed to automatically shuffle the pages for you at a tap so that you can read the ebook in roughly the same way the real book is designed to be read, but perhaps with more ease.  
Then Niels talked about the way he used, and still uses, statistical data from text, a book's hyperstructure, as he called it, to reinvent the structure and design of a book. He has recently worked on a book called I Read Where I Am: Exploring New Information Cultures which is a collection of essays about the future of reading. Published by Valiz and designed by Niels Schrader. I actually bought the same book the day before from the Valiz stall at the fair; it has some very interesting indexes and contents pages. One of which is an Index of Word Frequency, and then there is also an Index of Related Subjects (drawn from Wikipedia). Basically, as Niels explains, these indexes are designed to allow the reader to access the text from different points and new angles. He showed us lots of diagrams and ways this type of data could be used, but to be honest I think most of the audience switched off after a while; he just seemed to be going on about the same thing over and again, and only mentioned right at the end how this might be used in digital publications.

So those were the talks; and they ended so late that I only had time for a much needed cup of tea and brownie (as seen in the above image) before they closed, so I missed my gallery hopping time. I managed to spend way too much over the 2 days and bought several books; the one thing in my mind that made it ok to buy so many is that they all looked very useful for my upcoming MA... Here is a picture of my hoard, including leaflets etc...:

Day 3
I wanted to see at least one of the fringe exhibitions I missed on Day 2, which inevitably was the one closest to my home! There was a display of artists' books by Sara MacKillop at Donlon Books which I really wanted to see. Donlon Books is a small art book shop in East London which has a display cabinet at the back of the shop used for temporary displays. I think almost all of Sara's artists' book works were in the cabinet and you were able to slide it open to view the books, and take them off the glass shelves to read.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that these works were almost all made from photocopies. Photocopying as a process is something I have been using in my practice for years and to see someone else who seems to have the same feelings towards photocopying as a medium is very refreshing. I particularly enjoyed her book Remains which is the one with the green front cover in the image below. 

This book was made after the artist found an archaeological monograph/report which had been plastic spiral bound sometime in the 60's or 70's by the author. Sara had then taken parts of this monograph book and reproduced pages with small interruptions using a photocopier to produce a new artistic work which is now her own. This idea of appropriation, piracy and copying (as discussed during the Cultural Piracy talk above) in this manner are themes I have approached within my own work. You could even say that The Robinson Papers that I made for the Art & Lies branch of BAO edition 2 has elements of appropriation within it.

Right so that was my fun packed book art weekend! I hope you enjoyed my rambling; i'm looking forward to hearing from the ladies in Melbourne!



ersi marina said...

I don't even feel like giving mobile blogging a try. Taking the time to consider things and letting the ideas float and settle are crucial if we don't want to become alienated. That piece of chocolate cake looks delicious though!

Abigail Thomas said...

I think that its a good and useful tool when you have time to use it, or if you just want to post an image or a small thought. I think that it will be useful to the ladies that are using it at Impact7 because they are away from home and if they can find the time to make a post then that's great. But trying to make a considered post when you are literally on the move is very hard.

Abigail Thomas said...

Right, finally finished that post properly! Enjoy!