BookArtObject is a loose collective of artists who sometimes work in the medium of artists' books and who come together occasionally to make small editions of work in response to text. Participants don't pay a membership fee and there are very few obligations... they can dip in and out of the editions as they please.
Where is BookArtObject based?
Starting out in Australia, BookArtObject has attracted artists around the world! Administration of the group still happens mainly in Australia, but the collective only really exists through the BookArtObject blog, which is the hub for all activities relating to the group.
How can I join up?
Every now and again BookArtObject chooses a new text to work with and puts out a "Call for Participants" on the Book_Arts Listserve, the BookArtObject blog and Artistbooks.ning.com. When you see call for participants drop us a line and join up! We only take new members when we're starting off an edition in response to a new text, so the best way to keep in touch with what we're doing is to follow our blog!
How often do you make new editions?
Well... we try not to get stressed about the editions: they start when they start and they finish when they finish... there's nothing worse than joining a project and getting wound up by the deadlines! So far we've done roughly one project a year since 2008 when we started.
What do I get if I join up?
Who makes the decisions around here?
Hmmm... that's a difficult question. The group administrators are a core group of people who have been part of more than one edition and have more of a say in things than complete newbies BUT we're pretty democratic and open to new ideas, so who's to say YOU won't be the next person choosing a text?
If I join up, how many books do I have to make?
Experience has shown it's hard making an edition of more than about 10 - 12 books so we have been grouping people together in eights. This means you have to make one book for each of your fellow group members (you + 7 others = 8), plus we give one copy of each book produced to the author of the text and we need to know there's at least one other copy out there that we can exhibit if we get the chance (8 + 1 + 1 = 10). If you want to make more copies so that you can sell/exhibit them, feel free!
How big can I make my books?
In theory there is no limit, but you may wish to self-impose a limit based on costs of postage from where you live to the other members of your group and the author of the text! In practice this limits books to a maximum of, say, A4 (29cm x 21cm). But if you want to make big books and you can afford the postage I guess it's up to you...
Are there any things I CANNOT use in my books?
The main concern, since you're posting books to other countries, is the issue of prohibited substances in your books. Australia, for example, has very strict quarantine rules that mean you would not be able to use homemade paper with plant and flower inclusions, or anything with pine cones or bark, for example - and many other countries have restrictions too. Save yourself a lot of pain and think about this issue before commiting yourself to making 10+ books and then having them all destroyed or returned to you by the relevant country's quarantine services!
What else do I have to do?
You are responsible for completing the edition and mailing out copies to your fellow group members around the world. This could cost a bit, so it's just as well we don't have membership fees! You also get to mail the author's copy to Australia because the authors often like to get one big box with all their copies in, rather than lots of little packages.
Apart from that, it's up to you how involved you get: there is a BookArtObject Flickr account where you can post photos of your work in progress, there is a Twitter account where you can tweet about what you're doing, and if you sign up as a member for a particular editio you will become an author on the blog for the duration of the project so you will be able to post articles about what interests you in the world of artists' books as well as giving the rest of us an insight into your world! And you are always welcome to post (nice) comments about other people's articles and work.
Who chooses the text for each edition?
So far it's been a fairly organic experience: members who participated in Edition One suggested texts for Editions Two and Three, and Edition Four came out of meetin the wonderful Sarah Bodman at the Impact 7 conference in Brisbane in September 2011. Who knows where future texts will come from? We could work from advertising slogans, packaging materials, plays, songs, poetry, novels, non-fiction, newspapers... the list of options is a long one and the final choice is dependent on current project members saying "Yay!" or "Nah" to suggestions.
Who pays for my work?
No-one. You get to pay for the production costs and postage costs of your own work. BookArtObject has no money at all, isn't an incorporated body of any kind and receives no funding whatsoever. So if you were planning a leather-bound edition with gold tooling you'll have to fund it yourself! We realise that this may impact upon your choices when deciding whether to participate and what form your work might take, but we've received some brilliant work conceived specially to fit in standard-sized mailing envelopes so this doesn't seem to be a barrier to creativity.
Where has BookArtObject exhibited?
Thus far (December 2011) BookArtObject has exhibited at the Southern Cross University Acquisitive Artists' Book Awards in Lismore, Australia (finalist), and had an exhibition at the Impact 7 international printmaking and artists' books conference in Melbourne, Australia. Plans are afoot for more exhibitions in Australia in 2012 and possibly the USA in 2013. We would LOVE to explore other opportunities if you have any.
Will BookArtObject make me famous?
Dunno... but hopefully everyone who participates in BookArtObject editions will find it raises their profile a bit, and hopefully everyone who participates will raise BookArtObject's profile a bit too!