publishing

The artist's book, informed

Conceptual approaches in the handmade artist's book

Tony White -- Pickled Books
Two jars from Tony White's pickled books (1992)

My last post explored book artists who work conceptually using print-on-demand technology, but the use of conceptual methodologies extends to those who work in hand-made books as well.

This summer and fall, I have spent time in special collections at the University of Washington (partly in preparation for the Affect and Audience in the Digital Age symposium, and partly to find books for my spring workshop).

The artist's book as idea

Book artists who print on demand

Travis Shaffer Reworded
Travis Shaffer, Reworded (Self-Published, Print-on-demand book, BLURB, 2013). Image: Travis Shaffer

My last commentary began by asking what a print-on-demand artist's book might look like and explored works of conceptual writing that use the trade paperback form as a central aspect of their poetics.

I'd like to ask the question again, and offer a somewhat different print-on-demand approach:

So what might a conceptual, print-on-demand artist's book look like?

It might resemble Travis Shaffer's work.

The POD people

Writing through, erasure, appropriation, mimicry

Mimi Cabell and Jason Huff, American Psycho
Mimi Cabell and Jason Huff, American Psycho (2012). image: Mimi Cabell

So what might a conceptual, print-on-demand artist's book look like?

Several contemporary writers are using the form of pre-existing books as a container for innovative publishing experiments that they can make available at a reasonable price thanks to POD and affordable printing options. Like the pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, these new books resemble their sources externally, but diverge dramatically in content, which involves erasure and writing-through. They are also facilitated by the availability of digital editions of these books which provide a searchable, scrapable, alterable source.

The following are not all print-on-demand publications, but they take on trade paperback form in ways that intrigue me: 

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