Books in many hands

Amaranth Borsuk

University of Washington, Bothell

@amaranthborsuk

amaranthborsuk.com

It Goes Without Saying. Amaranth Borsuk and Julie Wills (2017).

Wave Signs. Carrie Bodle and Amaranth Borsuk  (2016).

Siglio Press 2012, SpringGun Press 2016

between page

& Screen

With Brad Bouse

WHISPERING GALLERIES

whisperinggalleries.com

Abra: A Living Text

With Kate Durbin and Ian Hatcher

A-B-R-A.com

A book of dust

Based on Nick Montfort's reimplementation

of Alison Knowles and James Tenney's House of Dust,

a 1967 computer-generated poem in Fortran, using Javascript.

amaranthborsuk.com/dust

<script type="text/javascript">

var t = 0,
material = ['POEMS', 'RECIPES', 'CUT-OUTS', 'TWEETS', 'STORIES', 'IDEOGRAMS', 'DIAGRAMS', 'DREAMS', 'SONGS', 'LYRICS', 'CONFESSIONS', 'FOUND IMAGES', 'ERASURES', 'REPRESSED DESIRES', 'COLLAGES', 'STRANGE SIGILS', 'MADE UP LANGUAGE', 'MAKE-BELIEVE', 'FORMS'],
place = ['IN PRIMARY COLORS', WITHOUT A COVER', 'IN DOS-A-DOS', 'IN PAPIER-MACHE', 'WITH THE SOUND OF WAVES', 'IN CODEX FORM', 'IN A STAB BINDING', 'IN A FLAG STYLE', 'IN A WIDE ACCORDION', 'IN A GREEN BOX', 'AS A DECK OF CARDS', 'IN YOUR HANDS', 'IN HEAVY INDUSTRIAL FELT', 'IMMERSED IN TALLOW', 'IN AN AIRLESS ROOM', 'IN A LIBRARY', 'IN SPECIAL COLLECTIONS', 'IN THE DISCARD PILE', 'AS A COFFEE SHOP', 'IN AN EXHIBITION', 'NONCHALANTLY INSERTED BETWEEN OTHER BOOKS', 'ENCASED IN LEAD', 'IN THE LIBRARY OF BABEL', 'IN A SACK OF FLOUR'],
light_source = ['PAGES', 'DUST', 'SAND', 'MIRROR NEURONS', 'NOTHING SO FAR', 'DISCARDED NEWSPAPER', 'FAIRY TALES', 'HAND-MADE PAPER', 'OLD PHONE DIRECTORIES'],
inhabitants = ['STARLIGHT', 'FLIGHTLESS BIRDS', 'ROBOTS', 'TOUCH', 'SMELL', 'CHAMBER CHOIR', 'CANDLELIGHT', 'CHILDREN AND OLD PEOPLE', 'UNKNOWN ARTISTS', 'LOVERS', 'BOOKSELLERS', 'PEOPLE WITH TIME', 'PEOPLE WHO SING IN THE SHOWER', 'BIBLIOPHLES', 'FRIENDS AND ENEMIES', 'INSOMNIACS', 'EXISTENTIALISTS', 'YOU', 'GRADUATE STUDENTS', 'PEOPLE FROM MANY WALKS OF LIFE', 'BENETTON MODELS', 'LES REVENENTS', 'POLYGLOT READERS', 'MONGREL POETS', 'PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO READ'];

function rand_range(maximum) {
    "use strict";
    return Math.floor(Math.random() * (maximum + 1));
}
function choose(array) {
    "use strict";
    return array[rand_range(array.length - 1)];
}
function stanza() {
    "use strict";
    return 'A BOOK OF ' + choose(material) + '<br \>      ' + choose(place) + '<br \>            MADE FROM ' + choose(light_source) + '<br \>                  READ BY ' + choose(inhabitants);
}
function litany() {
    "use strict";
    var last, text, main = document.getElementById('main');
    if (8 > t) {
        t += 1;
    } else {
        main.removeChild(document.getElementById('main').firstChild);
    }
    last = document.createElement('div');
    last.innerHTML = stanza();
    main.appendChild(last);
}
function produce_litany() {
    "use strict";
    litany();
    setInterval(litany, 5000);
}

</script>

A House of Dust

a house of (material)

          (location)

                    using (light source)

                              inhabited by (inhabitants)

ALISON KNOWLES & JAMES TENNEY

(COLOGNE: GBR KONIG VERLAG, 1968)

Image via KCRW.com

150 CE

          Sumer, 3300 BCE        Mesopotamia, 2041 BCE                  Egypt, 1900 BCE                        China, 1600 BCE

Peru, 2500 BCE / 1500 CE       India & Sri Lanka, 200 BCE             Greece, 800 BCE                        Rome, 55 CE

        China, 700 CE                            China, 800 CE                                China, 1200 CE                       China, 1300 CE

a portable information storage and retrieval device.

A material form for dissemination of text.

the book:

Image by Megan N. Liberty for Hyperallergic

t-h-e-b-o-o-k.com

I think a book is where we explore the magical space between eyes and a bent arm.

—Jason Dodge

A book is where the far away meets the near at hand—the  tea cooling on the table—the hard seat of the chair—the horn sounding outside the window

—Ann Hamilton

The book is a time travel device—allowing us to slip into the imagination of a future mind.

—Indira Allegra

The book is a dislocation device.

—Travis Shaffer

A book is a magic portal.

—Sarah Bodman

anteism.com

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

a slow rue. a mess of beans, of categories, of spilt personalities & pretty ribbon.
an equation. a village of fractals. a before feathers there was finger painting.
a mongol court. lebanon. syria. palestine. christianity’s ego trip.
what venice bit. the first sheet. the 18th paper cut. the holy letterpress sinking into the ocean.
the first binary ascending from the foam. the ephemeral joy of mildew.
a heat rash on plump thighs. the last ream. mecca. alpha. omega. a resurrection.
an insurrection.

 

Literature was never only words, never merely immaterial verbal constructions. Literary texts, like us, have bodies, an actuality necessitating that their materialities and meanings are deeply interwoven into each other.

 

—N. Katherine Hayles

Writing Machines (2002)

Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu (ca. 1470, coll. BNF), 2007 facsimile, image via UC Libraries.

Alison Knowles, The Big Book (1967).

[An artist's book] integrates the formal means of its realization and production with its thematic or aesthetic issues. […] It has to have some conviction, some soul, some reason to be and to be a book in order to succeed.

 

 —Johanna Drucker

The Century of Artists Books (2004)

As much acts of interpretation as material things, as much processes as objects, media are not merely storage mechanisms somehow independent of the acts of reading they record.

 

 

—Craig Dworkin

No Medium (2013)

Tender Claws, Pry (2014).

Books in Many Hands

By Amaranth Borsuk

Books in Many Hands

The Centre for Postdigital Cultures—Post-Digital Publishing V—June 2021

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