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June 17, 2007


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Hi Lee,

I enjoyed getting over to Brooklyn to see that show myself. I agree with what you say about the Proteus show being great because of the fact that one can actually handle the books (it's a fabulous space), and I'm looking forward to their next show on the theme of 'Play'.

From the lectures, I really engaged with Ben Vershbow's ideas about the book as a continuous process rather than a monolithic statement. if:books' take on this is a little different to mine though. I think of artists' books as a place where artists' practice engages in a process of wheeling on whatever roles are necessary to the production: printer, poet, juggler, anarchist, archivist, activist, or whatever. For that argument about what constitutes an artist's book, my response is that for me it's not about what they look like, but about that combination. Not one of these books is by a printmaker, or a poet, or a sculptor, but always by some hybrid of several roles. There is always some mixture of roles informing intention. I don't offer this as a definition, but as just about the only thing they've all got in common. AB's are for me ultimately a platform for allowing this. Books themselves (or book's various essentials) have the qualities that allow this 'staging' or 'conversation' to happen. For me, the process of the book begins with this artist-centric discourse around what the book is, what the strategy of production is, what it's going to look like. Then it begins that process that Ben V spoke about, and undergoes further transformation.

Anyway, nice to read your posting. I must write something myself.

Lee Kottner

Hi Andrew! Thanks for stopping by.

You're right about the hybrid aspect of book arts, and that's part of what appeals to me. As a writer myself, I've always been loathe to self-publish, wanting the legitimization of professional publication, but I'm slowly changing my mind about this. Text and books are inextricably entwined in my mind, but I've always liked the artistic aspect of them as well. Artist's books offer the best of both worlds. And like you, I also like that "conversation" that goes on during production of the book, too. It's an exciting new medium to work in, both as a writer and an artist. I like having the opportunity to exercise both parts of my creativity.

Hypertext really fascinated me when I first got on the net in the early 90s and one of the things I like about is that it seems like a way for ordinary people to take back storytelling, to make that a communal and interactive activity again. I like the idea of books as continuous processes too, which is only practical in cyberspace, unless you're willing and able to print multiple editions.

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