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Re: [BKARTS] bookart

  At the end of the day, a book is nothing more than smears of black stuff on
  mashed up plants with hard bits on the outside.

  Do we believe that or not?

  Texts are "written" in many ways. AND, we must never forget the relationship
  to the written word to speech and bodily communication. Text is a very big
  word indeed and a dictionary will never contain it, for it is just another
  form of "text".

Well, no. If all a book is is smudges on paper, then text is irrelevant. It is something like saying that van Gogh's work is nothing but random blots of color on canvas.

Once again, if any visual artist has been offended I deeply apologize for their inability to parse English sentences. As it turns out, I am a visual artist, and have not yet felt the slightest twinge of insult. But then, I can read.

Since your arguments have devolved to bald statements by fiat, the issue is no longer open to rational discourse,
so enjoy your pocket universe and the rest of us must remain confined the planet we are familiar with.

All that can be said at this point is that anything can be said, anything can be defined any way at all, anything can be proven and anything can be disproved when you are willing to toss out the dictionary, common usage, logic and rational discourse.

It must be grand to manipulate the economic welfare of other artists by redefining their art.

The rest of us will have to stumble along as best we can based on common understanding, a mutual language, and shared definitions. Discourse is not resolved by changing the language and nothing is proved by bald assertion.

The logical analogy to your final position is exactly the same as saying that books must be driven at less that 65 miles per hour and that sculpture can only be served with a regulation tennis racket.

There, we have just proven something with which, no doubt, the Caterpillar and Humpty Dumpty would agree.

Kinder Regards


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Pickafight Books" <pickafightbooks@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2007 7:53 AM
Subject: Re: bookart

Again Michael, you have insulted every visual artist on this post. Portraits
ARE historical documents. Paintings ARE historical documents. Etchings ARE
documents. Yes, they are subject to all the inaccuracies of the author,
trends of the time just as books are etc.

Let us consider Van Eyck's Arnolfini Marriage with that 'signature in the
mirror'. By some it is considered to be a legal document - as his signature
is seen as the 'witnessing of a shotgun wedding'. This is a work that is
prolifically described as a legal document come artistic masterpiece.

Textuality goes beyond words. Again I would argue, you do not understand the
language of materials, and their application and cultural significance in
the plastic arts. It also seems a number of years of Textual theory has
passed you by.

Looking is NOT disinterested. When you look, you learn. Children prove that

Kind Regards,

Andrew Williams
Pickafight Books
0431 094 106
Stanmore NSW Australia

-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Michael
Sent: Thursday, 26 April 2007 12:38 AM
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [BKARTS] bookart

Text & Context

When I use a word ... it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more
nor less. ...    Alice In Wonderland

Text: noun: the words of something written (Example: "There were more than a
thousand words of text") noun: the main body of a written work (as distinct
from illustrations or footnotes etc.)

Text: noun
  1 a written or printed work regarded in terms of content rather than form.
  2 the main body of a book or other work as distinct from appendices,
illustrations, etc.
  3 written or printed words or computer data.
  4 a written work chosen as a subject of study.
Text: words that have been written down, typed, or printed
written version of something: a written, typed, or printed version of
something such as a speech or a statement

Context: noun: discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to
determine its interpretation
             noun: the set of facts or circumstances that surround a
situation or event

Con·text [ kón tèkst ] (plural con·texts)
  1. text surrounding word or passage: the words, phrases, or passages that
come before and after a particular word or passage in a speech or piece of
writing and help to explain its full meaning
  2. surrounding conditions: the circumstances or events that form the
environment within which something exists or takes place
Context: noun
  1 the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or
  2 the parts that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and
clarify its meaning.

The entire argument claiming that plastic arts contain text has confused the
definitions and the concepts of "text" and "context."

Everything that you call text in your argument is actually context, and not
insignificant in that it is not only necessary to the understanding of the
work, but the unstated reference to external context is what accounts for
much of the power of such works. It is not, however, contained in the work.

The issue here is not what is a book and what is plastic art, but the use of
language. The reason we have commonly agreed upon definitions is so that the
act of communication works as intended; that is clear, unambiguous and
precise. Only then can language be reliably employed in discourse to arrive
at some meaningful conclusions.

The danger is not that some individual may feel insulted by having their
freedom of expression curtailed, it is that when an individual uses words
that are privately defined he fails to communicate at all. This leads, in
turn, to the real damage that is done by confusing media, functions,
markets, and the general muddiness of discourse, leading ultimately to its
failure to function at all..

So, when a term such as "text" is redefined and applied to objects to which
it does not properly apply, then the discourse becomes chaotic and allows
for erroneous conclusions to be drawn, for example, those concepts and
qualities that belong to text such as words, analytical thinking, true/false
logical distinctions simply do not apply to those objects that are defined
by concepts of context.

In other words, The Burghers of Calais does not contain texts that describe
its cultural ramifications, it infers them. That is its context.

It appears the terms true and false as defined and used in discrete, linear,
analytical systems such as logic, language, words and text are being
redefined and erroneously applied to non-linear, non-discrete, holistic
media such as the plastic arts.

One media is read, the other is viewed.

True and false are logical terms that are applied to logical argument, not
to a landscape. In that sense a landscape cannot be true or false. It can be
representational, a good likeness, a poor likeness, abstract, accurate or
inaccurate, or as referring to some cultural item, etc, etc.. All of these
appreciations or judgments are external contexts and while such contexts may
be true or false themselves, the object itself may not.

To say that the definition of plastic arts do not deal in terms of true and
false is false seems to be based solely on the word "blatantly." I see no
rational argument in that statement. Simply a statement by fiat.

Unless the term "blatantly" is a code word for irrational faith, blind
assumptions or knee-jerk reactions.

All plastic art does indeed suspend critical thinking as a medium. The
medium itself does not employ logical systems that rely on the true/false
( the excluded middle ) values and functions of critical thought such as
logic, language, words and text. The medium of critical thinking in this
case applies to the context, not to the object. Value judgments are after
the fact and external to the object. What the object may or may not demand
is not contained in the medium of the object itself. And so, it is viewed,
not read.

Perhaps the confusion here is related to literature which is comprised of
text, but the text is used in the way a painting is executed, by avoiding
the critical thinking and logical discourse that invites a true/false
judgment. The Iliad is not a critical essay on the issues relating to war,
it invites the reader to draw conclusions that are not contained in the text
itself. When Achilles kills Hector the portrayal of the scene is not a
matter of true/false rational conclusions. It simply is and, as such,
invites the reader to form his own opinions which may or may not be true or
false. In this way literature behaves the way painting does, by avoiding the
direct use of rational value judgments. A poem does not function the way a
computer language manual functions. This difference of function in two
different uses of the medium of text may lead to some confusion about the
true/false nature of textual objects and those confusion are then magnified
by applying them to plastic arts

Ultimately, the injury done to language and to aesthetics both is when the
definitions of a term that belongs to one medium is erroneously applied to
another. Concepts that belong to text do not necessarily belong to concepts
that belong to context.

The fact is that in regard to the contexts of art media we are saying pretty
much the same thing; it is non-trivial and necessary to the function of art.

However, when the definitions of plastic arts are applied to texts it
ultimately confuses text with context and then concludes that text is of no
particular importance. Ironically it accomplishes the denial of the value
and distinction of text by using text itself. Gödel did much the same for
logic and mathematics, discursive systems related to language. But no doubt
that is beyond the scope of this discussion.

Actually portraits are not documents. They are visual objects that record
visual data about which contextual documents may apply.

The term "documenting" in current usage confuses the idea of written
documentation with the idea of visual recording. These too are distinct
functions which have been conflated by the term "documenting" and thus
giving rise to the confusion between what is a document and what is a visual
recording. Mostly the term "document" is used to mean an historical record.
But properly speaking an historical record that is textual is a document and
an historical record that is visual belongs to the plastic representation of
the historical record.

It is apparent that the way some individuals cannot grasp the fundamental
definitions of words and concepts, especially as applied to the plastic and
the literary arts, destroys the function and potential use of discourse
itself with the muddy waters of logorrhea.

A hawk is not a handsaw and text is not context as it applies to the plastic
arts. Worse, the function and value of context as it applies to the plastic
arts is then applied to the texts of the literary arts. They are not the
same. Perhaps the confusion lies in the fact that some context is itself
text, for example an essay about the history, meaning and cultural impact of
"The Burghers of Calais." And some text, say The Iliad which is itself made
of text, has had a plethora of contextual texts written about it. And they
too are not the same. The text of the Iliad is the literary object and the
texts about the Iliad are external contextual objects.

But the fact remains; the Iliad employs text as its medium, The Burghers of
Calais does not. One is read, the other is viewed.

When engaging is discussion, it would be wise to employ a more careful use
of dictionaries.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Pickafight Books" <pickafightbooks@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 5:39 PM
Subject: Re: bookart

> Michael,
> I think we can all be guilty of sloppy thinking and miscommunication at
> times, and I'll be the first to admit it. I think you raise some
> points, but we seem to differ.
> Michael said;
> So, plastic arts, just like the poem, rely on referring to external
> contexts, not only for convenience, but for the power of it. There is
> something moving, persuasive and powerful about the terse reference to
> common cultural contexts. For one thing, such references are beyond
> true/false analytical thinking. It is what makes the metaphors and symbols
> so powerful in a poem by Tu Fu and the fact that it would require the
> translation of the Chinese culture to effectively render a Tu Fu poem into
> English. That in itself makes translation impossible or, at best,
> approximate. Note that it is not necessary to translate "The Burghers of
> Calais." Perhaps such power has to do with the suspension of critical
> thinking which, after all, invites a value judgment. No one can accuse
> Burghers of Calais" of being false. The criticism of the plastic arts rely
> more on emotive terms such as liking, viewing, representation, form, etc,
> and hardly at all on such value judgments of true or false.
> I disagree that sculpture and the plastic arts are merely 'viewed' and not
> read. That the plastic arts don't deal in terms of true and false or
> analytical thought is, I think, blatantly untrue.
> Take History painting - a genre of painting where current events are
> commissioned to be painted by an artist. A text. Much great research and
> historical commentary has been conducted pouring over the surface of a
> painting or print. It can be described as being true and false. It
> historical information. Portraiture is no different. They are documents.
> artists do the same job - documenting the realities and events of war. Art
> does contain significant texts. I brought up the Burghers of Calais for
> reason - there is a text contained in that sculpture - it is not merely an
> illustration. Art is NEVER about suspending critical thinking and demands
> the viewer to make countless value judgments - and it is not just about
> whether we 'like it or not'.
> I think the way some view the Plastic Arts is hindering the current
> discussion.
> Andrew Williams.
> Pickafight Books
> Stanmore NSW Australia
>             ***********************************************
>     Visit "The Book of Origins: A survey of American Fine Binding"
>                Online exhibit and catalog order form at
>       <http://library.syr.edu/digital/exhibits/b/bookoforigins/>
>             For all your subscription questions, go to the
>                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
>          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information
>             ***********************************************

     Visit "The Book of Origins: A survey of American Fine Binding"
                Online exhibit and catalog order form at

             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information

     Visit "The Book of Origins: A survey of American Fine Binding"
                Online exhibit and catalog order form at
             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information

     Visit "The Book of Origins: A survey of American Fine Binding"
                Online exhibit and catalog order form at
             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information

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