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Re: definitions

I am teaching in the bookarts department at Mills College in Oakland, CA.
What is a book? I am struggling to come up with a suscinct definition. The
article Learning to Read Art:the Art of Artists' Books in the New Bookbinder
Vol 13, 1993 by Judith Hoffberg points out that we are still stuggling with
this definition. 
The article begins:
"Mallarme said that 'Everything exists in the world order to
become a book'. Today, artists in all countries are proving Mallarme to be
right. From Japan to Germany, artists are involved in creating works of
art in the form of books as a vehicle for expression.  This also involves
a new way of reading, not only with the eyes but also with the hand."
It goes on to talk about the current situation in bookarts. There was also
a previous article by Betty Lou Chaika that I get the students to read. It
was in a previous issue of the New Bookbinder. I am sorry I don't have the
reference with me but I recommend that too.
Among traditional bookbinders there is a general understanding of a book as
far as its physical nature and maybe everything else could be a bookwork? 
 On Wed, 6 Jul 1994, Artemis Bonadea wrote:

> On Wed, 29 Jun 1994 LABN@db1.cc.rochester.edu wrote:
> > 
> > Just a few more questions for everyone to ponder:
> > 
> > Does a book have to open to be a book?
> > Does it have to have pages?
> > Is a blank book truly a book, as it contains no information?
> > 
> Rereading my folder letters this one caught my eye as a bit more 
> interesting than the art vrs. craft debate which has been with us forever 
> and probably always will be.  Sincethis is a book arts list and at least 
> some of us participate in the artist book world, does a book have to open 
> to be a book?
> I subscribe (at this moment) to the theory that some of the historical
> structure must be maintained for an object to be considered a book.  It 
> must have pages of some sort, OR text of some sort OR a mechanical nature 
> that most people would recognize as a book.  For instance I saw a 
> student's book at the University of Oregon- Eugene that was spiral 
> bound in a complete circle.  Even though I couldn't open the book I 
> recognized what it was because it used a book form that I was familiar 
> with (spiral bound notebooks).  I recognized it as a statement about 
> books because I recognized it as a book.
> The other option is book objects or book forms.  These pieces use the 
> book form as a springboard for artwork.  I'm thinking of a handmade 
> pamphlet I saw matted and framed on the wall.  It was very beautiful 
> but it was not inended to be handled or read as a book.  The whoe piece 
> was conceived ( I thought) to be viewed as a piece of art.  The pages 
> behind the open pages were supportive of the pinnece as a whole, not ment 
> to be viewed as individual parts of the book.    
> I do think a blank book is a book because it looks like a book, smells 
> like a book, functions like a book.  It is capable of being filled with 
> anything a book is capable of being filled with - world, drawings, 
> pressed flowers (did I really say that?)  
> Anyone  else have any thoughts on this?
> Artemis

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