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Re: [BKARTS] Handling books



Hear hear! I agree completely that the point of books (and textiles) is the interaction, the full sensual experience. I also don't think that anything--not even art!--is meant to last "forever", and again, that's the point. I love an antique book that is obviously old: worn, pages torn, cover falling off, etc. It displays a sense of history, as well as fleetingness, and reminds me of all the other people who have handled the book and the lives that have been touched by it. As far as exhibitions are concerned, a sense of respect and mindful handling should of course be encouraged (as with anything else in life!), but I wonder if the white gloves might not give the viewer a sense that the artist does not trust the viewer to handle with care, and perhaps even that the viewer is somehow beneath the work, not worthy of touching & interacting with it? I think that exhibitions and gallery spaces by their very nature put people in a reverent frame of mind, unconsciously encouraging respect & mindfulness. People are usually hesitant to touch anything in a gallery unless expressly invited to do so.

(Personally, I think that art in general needs & deserves to be experienced on as many levels and with as many of the senses as possible, but that's another story...)

Sarah Lawless (Canada)

On Nov 17, 2003, at 9:29 PM, Wood, Susan wrote:

First off, please trim folks. Today's digest was 97KB and most of it was
repeats of the last two days' digests.


No doubt many will disagree, but a good part of the reason I am
attracted to the book as a format is the intimate nature of the book and
the fact that the viewer HAS to interact with it in order to get the
complete experience. I understand the issues that arise when a book is
handled by lots of people, but I think there is something quite perverse
about making something that is intended by its very nature to be handled
and then telling people they shouldn't.


I have the same issue with textiles. I also work in textiles and part of
the reason is because of the haptic quality of the materials. Since
there are textile (and paper) items that have survived relatively
unscathed at least from the middle ages, obviously a bit of careful
touching and a bit of natural oil isn't the end of the world.


As to what you do in the case of exhibitions, I think the white cotton
gloves dull your feeling and in the case of fragile items are quite
likely to lead to rather than prevent damage. However, I can see the
point that they carry a message in themselves and may help to inculcate
a message of care. I'd rather see white gloves and people able to touch
than items quarantined under glass.=20

Sue W (in Oz)

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    *Postings may not be re-printed in any form without the express
    consent of the author - Please respect their contributions & ©*

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