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[BKARTS] The Obsolete Man and Obsolete Book, A Bookarts Lecture, June 21, NYC


Sunday, June 21 at 3:00 pm at SculptureCenter in Long Island City, NYC.

The Free Skool at the University of Trash announce Jeffrey S.
Peachey’s presentation titled “The Obsolete Man and the Obsolete
Book?” The University of Trash is an experiment in alternative
architecture, urbanism, and pedagogy taking place in
SculptureCenter's main space. Throughout the summer there will be a
mix of workshops, screenings, and presentations focusing on grass
roots, self-organized urbanism, DIY architecture and the evolving
aesthetics and politics of public space.

Peachey will screen an original Twilight Zone, “The Obsolete Man”,
present a short lecture, then lead a discussion based on some of the
issues it raises. Peachey is the owner of a New York City-based
studio for the conservation of books.  Because of his experience in
examining and treating a wide variety of historic book structures, he
is especially interested in how humans have interacted with the
physical form of the book over the past 1,600 years, the importance
of non-texual information and how the book has acquired such symbolic
power.  The images of books in this episode form a locus for a
variety of issues—authority, freedom, history, truth, the state,
individuality, identity and conformity—that are explored in a classic
Serlingesque manner.

“I am nothing more than a reminder to you that you cannot destroy
truth by burning pages.” Romney Wordsworth (Burgess Meredith)
declares when the Chancellor (Fritz Weaver) pronounces him obsolete,
and then condemns him to death.  Wordsworth, a secret librarian,
lives in a room not only surrounded by books, but virtually built out
them.  Considering aspects of book conservation, Peachey will deliver
a short lecture touching on some of the ideas explored in the film,
looking at how books are displayed in Wordsworth’s apartment,
commenting on the various book structures portrayed and linking these
to themes presented in the episode. Models of several historic book
structures will available for handling. Then some more general
observations on the value of non-textual elements of books will be
made, along with the challenges of conserving these elements.

This will be followed by an open discussion.  Possible topics include
questions about the supposed death of the codex; the importance of
non-textual elements in books; books as physical expressions of
authority; books as moving, portable hand held sculpture; books as
democratic instruments; the display of books as externalized
knowledge; hand interaction in reading; and most importantly, how
closely is our culture inexorably linked with the history of the book.

This event is free, and there is a $5 suggested donation to the museum.

Jeff Peachey:


The University of Trash:

Attendees are encouraged to preview the entire Twilight Zone episode at:

NOW ONLINE, Volume 5, No. 2, Spring 2009 of The Bonefolder
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