Wednesday, 24 November 2010


After going to a conceptual literary exhibition I was very keen to make conceptual books as part of my practice. However, I would not label myself as an artist book maker. It would be more accurate to categorise my books as one of the many form of documentation for my information and props for other aspects of my practice. I encountered several of Kenneth Goldsmith’s books at the exhibition, among many other artist books. The layout for my books was heavily inspired by Kenneth Goldsmith’s Soliloquy; the minimalistic style, the cleanness of the design. Soliloquy is an unedited transcription of every word that Goldsmith spoke for a week, from the moment he got up to the moment he went to bed at night. I wouldn’t say that my books were direct copies of the book in terms of visual layout, but there are several aspects that I have imitated for various reasons. I wanted my books to be a set, using a uniform design, so they would have a visual as well as conceptual link.  

The first books that I produced were ‘24 Hours of News’ (a book of my 24 hour news filler word transcription), ’The Tarantino Collection’ ( a book containing the transcriptions of the filler words from Tarantino’s six main existent movies that he wrote and directed; Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill (part I &II), Death Proof and Inglorious Basterds). After these books were complete, I then decided to produce a work more directly linked with the work of Kenneth Goldsmith. I transcribed all of the filler words from his book Soliloquy, and kept them laid in their different sections in a similar way to the book itself. As I said before, this was not an imitation of goldsmith’s work but rather the use of my own systematic method of dealing with literary information applied to the work of another artist. This act of using my own processes on the work of others was inspired by a particular text piece that I came across at the Perverse Library exhibition; Parse (2008) by Craig Dworkin. For this work, Dworkin took a copy of Edward Abbott’s ‘How to Parse: An attempt to apply the principles of scholarship to English grammar; with appendixes on analysis, spelling, and punctuation’ (1883) and used the text as a guide to parse the book itself. Although I didn’t look into the act of parsing in any great detail, I appreciated act of Dworkin taking this text and creating something new, while using the book as it was intended to be used. Seeing this work made me want to branch out and produce broader range of works. I didn’t want to imitate the acts of others artists, but I wanted to follow their example. 

I then went on to produce other transcription books, which are all part of a collection as a whole. I began to think about particular elements of certain texts and films that have affected me. One example that came to mind was the movie Pulp Fiction, which is heavily dialogue based. In Pulp Fiction, dialogue is important and to me the questions are the most interesting and amusing part. When I looked at the questions away from the rest of the films dialogue, I was pleasantly surprised to see elements of narrative still present; It still seemed to tell a story through questions alone. It led onto to other works, created in a similar way. Through these works I wanted to identify traits within films and publication that are very much part of modern culture, and provide some sort of running commentary. Instead of creating something totally new, I wanted to work with that what is already in existence. 

I then produced a work titled ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, which is a transcription of a Spider-Man comic book. Banner used contemporary war films as her source material, as they rely heavily on action and visuals. I chose to transcribe a comic book, because of its obvious reliance on images, to provide narrative. There is no descriptive text, only images and dialogue. I wanted to produce a book from the comic’s narrative, without including images. After seeing my completed comic book, I wanted to produce more books that focused on the physical layout of text. At the same time, I had been looking at the phonetic alphabet because of its visual qualities. I liked using the filler words because they are a way of not saying much but at the same time saying a lot and once they were used in this way they formed quite interesting patterns. By converting some of my books into phonetics I wanted to different patterns using the same words. This led me onto the translation of words into symbols and I converted the same books into Morse code, which also gave a very different pattern using the same starting material.

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