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Re: [BKARTS] On preservation



> Susan Wood said "It is THIS that I think is the modern obsession with longevity – that somehow we can freeze time." and quoted Martin Venezky “as we raise a toast to stability and preservation aren’t we silently counting our own remaining days? The art museum provides an institutional prayer that we might fight and win by simply staying put.”  
 
I must respectfully disagree.  Some people have great value for book arts, others see them as a waste of time and energy.  In the same way, some people have a great interest in historical information and a great value in its preservation, while others do not see the point.   I believe that many of the people who are interested in conservation and preservation have a value for history and therefore a greater sense that we are, in fact, creatures who occupy a short span in the long history of man and that those who come later will have the same interest in our lives and products as we have in those who preceded us.  For these people, it is not a matter of freezing time or trying to immortalize ourselves, but of being painfully aware of how much of history has been destroyed simply because items were considered too mundane to preserve.  When it comes to books, much of the information about binding structures has been destroyed because the structures themselves were considered unimportant, so books were disbound or rebound to suit the fashion of the time or "repaired" with no appreciation for the historical value of the original binding.   The Nag Hammadi codices were disbound without adequate recording of the binding details and even as late as the 1970s (even now in some places), ancient books were rebound without any documentation of the original bindings.  I am sure that this is not the reason behind the concerns with longevity for everyone, but I do think it applies to a great many if not to the majority in the book arts field.
 
Margie Fenney
 

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