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- Subject: Re: definitions
- From: Gillian Boal <email@example.com>
- Date: Wed, 6 Jul 1994 17:10:19 -0400
- Message-Id: <"Usls_2.O1.M23.M8T4l"@sul2>
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
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?