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Book Art in the Electronic Age
Perhaps another way to look at the internet in terms of book art is to
consider whover at CERN developed the WWW, the MOSAIC team, etc. the way
way we think of binding structuralists like Hedi Kyle who are making
alternative forms to contain or organize information.
The same way that hundreds of artists and publishers, like Susan King and
Claire Van Vliet, have organized texts and images to fit into Hedi's "April
Diary" structure (alternate opposing rows of tabbed concertina), thousands
of people are developing content for Web pages.
The interesting thing about these new page description formats is that they
are reader interactive. I often use Bembo or Centaur as the default screen
font for WWW pages, And if you get tired of looking at one typeface, you
can change it. The new release of Netscape allows for custom backgrounds,
which can be included with the html or selected by the viewer.
Since it's easy to print these pages directly from the computer (on
handmade paper if so desired) and bind them however one desires (as a
flipbook or a tooled leather binding), it becomes a significant aspect of
the book art future for the traditional practitioner. It's certainly a step
beyond the ability to download the text of a novel from LC.
For example, last week I was asked to lend a piece of my work for a book
art exhibit. The curator didn't flinch when I suggested putting a computer
with a modem connected to the World Wide Web as my piece.
My concerns as an artist are at both ends of the wire. At the gallery end,
do I do a special binding on the computer monitor, or treat it like a
Duchamp urinal? At the content end, do I select interesting WWW sites,
feature my own (an autobiography), or compose a conceptual site for the
occasion which is in itself a work of art? Do I have a printer attached to
it so the viewing public can obtain a relic of the event to put in their
library or hang on their wall?
Gary Frost and I have had some e-talk about the role of the book artist in
developing new content for this medium. Perhaps other Book_Arts-L members
would contribute their thoughts in this forum. Philosophical and conceptual
issues often lead to practical applications.