All posts by mnbookarts

Tim Hopkins – “The Book of Disquiet”

The Book of Disquiet opened.

The Book of Disquiet with contents.

The Book of Disquiet: box top with a selection of fragments.

A jumble of fragments from The Book of Disquiet.

 

Tim Hopkins
London, United Kingdom
https://thebookofdisquiet.wordpress.com

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
2017
Letterpress
80
n/a
Variable dimensions
280mm x 202mm x 42mm
https://vimeo.com/215534505

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa; the Half Pint Press Edition
This edition of Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet takes a recognised classic and builds out from that book’s unique history, form and content to create a viable reading experience that adds to the feeling and atmosphere of the novel itself.

The texts that make up The Book of Disquiet were found in a box in Pessoa’s room after his death, in bundles of manuscript and typescript fragments and in no fixed order. It consists of the everyday thoughts of a single character, Bernardo Soares.

The Half Pint Press edition of The Book of Disquiet takes 61 of the hundreds of fragments, and presents them on a variety of paper and non-paper ephemera (some found, some made). Each fragment was typeset by hand and printed by hand on an Adana Eight-Five tabletop letterpress in an edition of 80. The fragments are presented unbound and with no fixed order in a hand-printed box.

This edition responds to the original’s form, or lack of form, by restoring disorder to The Book of Disquiet: the fragments are to be picked out as the reader pleases. This reflects the origin of the text itself and also makes possible connections between fragments which may be less available in a bound, ordered edition; Soares was prone to letting his mind wander during long nights in his room and the book gives a sense of that wandering mind. This form also nods to a history of unbound books, in particular BS Johnson’s The Unfortunates and Marc Saporta’s Composition No 1.

It writes Soares’s ideas across the everyday detritus of a life lived, on objects as diverse as a postage stamp, a compliments slip, a booze label, a page of accounts and an internal transit envelope. Not all the objects are paper: the box includes a pencil (a single-paragraph fragment, one line letterpressed on each side of a hexagonal pencil), a lollipop stick and a matchbook. Some are beautiful, others grubbily everyday. Likewise the box, which is deliberately not a cloth-bound fine press production but instead hand-printed on a commercially-available stitched board box. Each fragment has its own dimensions and character, and each was approached as a separate project, choosing type size, layout and fragment length in response (though care was taken not to relate the content of text too closely to its format, to avoid being boringly literal and closing down meanings).

The impression is of a box of belongings, each with a value of some kind to the owner. Each may be kept because it’s beautiful, or important, or useful, or attached to a memory: the reader can’t know but the form invites the reader to imagine those reasons, and therefore to engage their imagination more fully in the work. There is a melancholy sense of sifting through the relics of a life lived, full of unreachable connections. The edition enriches and enhances the experience of reading Soares’s words, anchoring them in the quotidian, explicitly an abstracted literature of everyday existence. Occasionally the fragments are difficult to read, but the most important part of the book remains Pessoa’s words, made yet more atmospheric by making the experience of reading more physical and tactile.

It is a book and not a book, everyday and extraordinary, hand-made and machine-made, real and impossible.

 

Ken Botnick, “Diderot Project”

Botnick_1
Half-title printed in 5 colors on UV Ultra paper. Colors blocks were printed on the verso of this sheet which is why the gold and silver have a matte or muted tone. Silver half title is printed on the reader’s side of the sheet. Show-through to following page and print of buckets is visible through the color blocks.

Botnick_2
Part of the title sequence. The silver “Project” is printed on this side of the sheet to align perfectly with “Diderot” on the verso. Composition of this page considers the composition on the previous two pages showing through the paper to make a composite composition with the page turn.

Botnick_3
Another aspect of the titling sequence playing with the visual quality of the name, Diderot, and the structural quality of the type face, Walbaum. The type you are seeing on the left is the result of seeing 4 paper surfaces aligned to create the image of a machine. The illustration on the right hand page is printed in silver on black paper. The circle is a repeating visual metaphor in the book.

Botnick_4
There are three sections in the book and each has its own typographic ‘signature’ established at the beginning of the section with an introductory passage I wrote. This is the opening section on The Object, the typography evoking the angular quality of the tool or machine. The quote on left page is by Goethe and the image is a composite of a plate on the section on fishing and a sky filled with figure numbers that appear throughout the Encyclopedia plates. There are a total of 40 different authors of texts, mostly short, in the book, but the largest amount of texts are by Diderot and myself.

Botnick_5
This page spread introduces the section on The Senses. The left hand page is a composite of two different typographic constructions of the word Encyclopedia that appear regularly throughout the book to announce a change in content. The left page is UV Ultra printed on two sides with a mosaic grid of fragments of Encyclopedia plates printed in silver +transparent. On the verso is a fragmented version of the Encyclopedia grid construct in black. The previous page shows through in black and gold. The right hand page has another introductory passage about the coming section written by me. The silhouette is Diderot’s portrait bust by Houdon with one of the plates used to evoke Diderot’s changing nature as he edited the Encyclopedia.

 


 
Ken Botnick (St Louis, Missouri)
kenbotnick.com

Diderot Project
2015
Letterpress printing and handmade paper
Edition Size: 70
Pages: 150
Dimensions open: 11.25 x 14.5
Dimensions closed: 11.25 x 7.25

I believe we make books in order to discover our subjects.

This project is the result of a 5-year investigation of the Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers of Diderot and d’Alembert. It is a 150-page visual and textual narrative (meditation) on several subjects I highlighted in the Encyclopédie, namely, the nature of craft, the hand, work, tools, machines, dreams, the senses and the imagination. There are six different papers in the book, including three specially watermarked sheets I designed for the edition and made at Dieu Donne paper in New York. Over 220 press runs and 8 pounds of inks were used in the production of this book.

This is not a book about the Encyclopédie. It might, more accurately, be described as a book of, or with, or even because of the Encyclopédie. While it began primarily as a visual exploration of the original plate volumes seen through the lens of the camera, it grew by considering the encyclopedia as a system of correlations and leaps of the imagination, which was Diderot’s intent for the readers of the Encyclopédie.

In my books I strive for a balance of three components: conceptual organization; visual metaphor; formal execution.

Conceptual Organization
The structure is based upon the organization of the Encyclopédie as explained in the Detailed System of Human Knowledge. Three uber categories, Memory, Reason, and Imagination, are used to categorize all entries. For this book I have maintained the structure of three, but with new headings based on my readings of the images and what they inspired. They are the Hand, the Object, and the Senses. A narrative is woven of images overlaid with texts from Diderot’s original encyclopedia entries and those of 40 other writers; Lewis Mumford, Michel Foucault, Gaston Bachelard, Roland Barthes, Goethe, Francis Ponge, Gary Snyder, contemporary neuroscientists, philosophers, architects, and the designer/author of this edition, Ken Botnick. The two major voices in the book are Diderot’s and mine.

Visual Metaphor
Transparency is the central metaphor of this book, in inks, papers, and watermarks. This is, primarily, a visual reference to Diderot’s call for more transparency in society. But it is also employed as a visual representation of memory and the way it accumulates in layers and fragments. There are several sequences in the book where the image one is reading is composed of printing on 4 or 5 surfaces of paper. Pattern is a strong visual component of the book, referencing cognition and memory (as well as being extremely fun to play with.) Finally, the negative, or white space, of the pages is an allusion to a synaptic space, the connective tissue of the system, where leaps of the imagination occur.

Formal Execution
Encyclopédie images form the core of the book but the design is driven by a marriage of word and image. Though the type is shaped, it is rarely perceived as a shape so much as it is seen as defining the negative spaces of the page. There is a typographic signature for each section. The first section on the Hand has typography with softly curving edges reflecting the nature of material shaped in the hand. The second section, the Object, has the sharp, angular shapes carved by a tool. And the final section, the Senses, presents subtle challenges to the expectation of the reading experience.

2017 MCBA Prize Winner Announcement

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce the winner of the 2017 MCBA Prize, The Book of Disquiet by London-based book artist Tim Hopkins.

For the 2017 competition, a three-member jury reviewed over 100 submissions representing 12 nations around the world, and narrowed the field to five finalists. These five works were judged at MCBA during Book Art Biennial 2017 (BookArtBiennial.org), a program series including exhibitions, workshops, and a two-day symposium. The winner was announced at a gala award ceremony on Saturday, July 22.

Hopkin’s 2017 edition of Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet takes a recognized classic and builds out from that book’s unique history, form, and content to create a viable reading experience that adds to the feeling and atmosphere of the novel itself. The texts that make up The Book of Disquiet were found in a box in Pessoa’s room after his death, in bundles of manuscript and typescript fragments and in no fixed order. It consists of the everyday thoughts of a single character, Bernardo Soares. The Half Pint Press edition of The Book of Disquiet takes 61 of the hundreds of fragments and presents them on a variety of paper and non-paper ephemera (some found, some made). Each fragment was typeset by hand and printed by hand on an Adana Eight-Five tabletop letterpress in an edition of 80. The fragments are presented unbound and with no fixed order in a hand-printed box.

This edition responds to the original’s form, or lack of form, by restoring disorder to The Book of Disquiet: the fragments are to be picked out as the reader pleases. This reflects the origin of the text itself and also makes possible connections between fragments which may be less available in a bound, ordered edition; Soares was prone to letting his mind wander during long nights in his room and the book gives a sense of that wandering mind.

In addition to the title, Tim Hopkins receives a $2,000 cash prize. The four finalists each receive a $500 cash award.

The MCBA Prize 2017 jury consists of:

  • Steven Daiber, of Red Trillium Press/ Aqui en la lucha in Massachusetts;
  • Simon Goode, co-founder of London Centre for Book Arts;
  • Karen Kunc, of Constellation Studios, and Cather Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Finalists for The MCBA Prize 2017 included:

  • Hannah Batsel (Chicago, IL ), Maneater
  • Tim Hopkins (London, England), The Book of Disquiet
  • Ines von Ketelhodt (Flörsheim, Germany), Alpha Beta
  • Ellen Knudson (Gainesville, FL ) Ingress / Egress
  • Nader Koochaki (Beasain, Guipúzcoa, Spain), Soineko Paisaia / Dorsal Landscape 2009-2015
  • The jury also awarded three Special Recognitions of Merit:

  • Ann Kalmbach & Tatana Kellner (Rosendale, New York), The Golden Rule
  • Christine McCauley (London, England), Mist
  • Sue Huggins Leopard (Rochester, New York), This Past Winter
  • View all of the entries for The MCBA Prize 2017 in MCBA’s online gallery, MCBAPrize.org.

    The MCBA Prize was presented in conjunction with Book Art Biennial 2017 (July 15-23), a series of events, exhibitions and workshops that explore contemporary practice in the book arts. This year’s theme— Shout Out: Community Intervention, Independent Publishing, and Alternative Distribution—featured programming that amplifies individual and collective voice through grassroots artistic practice.

    2015 MCBA Prize Winner Announcement

    As part of our 30th Anniversary celebration, Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce that the winner of the 2015 MCBA Prize is Ken Botnick, for his artist’s book, Diderot Project

    “I believe we make books in order to discover our subjects,” Botnick remarks in his artist statement for the winning work. Diderot Project was inspired by a five-year-long investigation of the “Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers” — a 150-page visual and textual narrative; a meditation on the nature of craft, the hand, work, tools, machines, dreams, the senses and the imagination. The book is letterpress printed in five colors and incorporates six different papers, including handmade and watermarked paper made by Botnick at Dieu Donne paper studio in New York.

    Botnick’s content began primarily as a visual exploration of the original plate volumes seen through the lens of the camera, then grew by considering the encyclopedia as a system of correlations and leaps of the imagination, incorporating original narrative by Botnick and excerpted texts by some 40 other authors. To see images of the work and read more by the artist describing his process in making the book, visit his entry page at MCBAPrize.org.

    This year’s competition, celebrated in coordination with MCBA’s 30th Anniversary, was judged by a jury of three experts in the field of book arts. The jurors reviewed a total of 170 submissions, representing 18 nations around the world from five continents, including 34 of the 50 United States. View the entire MCBA Prize 2015 online gallery at MCBAPrize.org.

    Finalists for the 2015 MCBA Prize included:
    – Sarah Bryant and David Allen, Figure Study
    – Casey Gardner, Matter, Antimatter, and So Forth
    – Sara Langworthy, On Physical Lines
    – Robin Price, Love in the Time of War

    The jury also awarded three Special Recognitions of Merit:
    – Rhiannon Alpers, Remnants
    – Candace Hicks, String Theory, Vol. III
    – Gabriella Solti, The Book of Hours

    The winner was announced at MCBA’s 30th Anniversary Gala and award ceremony on Saturday, July 25. The winner receives a total cash prize of $2,500, plus an additional $750 travel stipend to attend Book Art Biennial and The MCBA Prize gala and award ceremony. Finalists each receive a $500 cash award and $750 travel stipend.

    The MCBA Prize 2015 jury consisted of:
    – Aaron Cohick, proprietor of NewLights Press and master printer at The Press at Colorado College
    – Daniel E. Kelm, book artist and founder of the Garage Annex School for Book Arts
    – Jae Jennifer Rossman, Assistant Director for Special Collections, Yale University Library
    (For complete bios, visit our Jurors page.)

    In summing up the first stage of the competition, the jury stated:
    “The MCBA Prize 2015 attracted work of impressive depth and quality. The selection process to name five finalists from the pool of 170 submissions compelled an active discussion on topics such as integrity, finish, physicality, complexity, and the development of ideas. We found our discussions thought-provoking, yet fun, as we anticipated the next missive from our colleagues. Eventually, the difficult decisions were made, but not before each juror passionately articulated their opinions. We are looking forward to continuing the discussion at MCBA’s Book Art Biennial and beyond. Thank you to all who entered for sharing your work with us, and congratulations to the finalists.”

    The MCBA Prize was founded in 2009 as the first honor to recognize book art from across the field and around the world. The award is presented in conjunction with Book Art Biennial, a series of workshops, exhibitions, presentations and performances that inspire discussion and explore contemporary practice in the book arts. The fourth Biennial Symposium, convened July 23-26, 2015, continues a tradition of stimulating critical thinking and dialogue. For more details on Book Art Biennial and MCBA’s educational and artistic programming, visit MNBookArts.org.

    2013 MCBA Prize Winner Announcement

    Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce the winner of the 2013 MCBA Prize, A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature by Chicago-based book artist Clifton Meador.

    For the 2013 competition, a three-member jury reviewed 192 submissions from over 160 artists representing 22 nations around the world, and narrowed the field to five finalists. These five works were judged at MCBA during Book Art Biennial 2013 (BookArtBiennial.org), a two-day academic symposium on contemporary practice in the book arts. The winner was announced at a gala award ceremony on Saturday, July 27.

    Meador’s work, A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature (2012) is a set of five leporello books, each presenting a sequence of woodland images from Vinalhaven Island in Maine. The border of each image includes a text from a long, imaginary lecture by a professor who — even though he sounds convinced — is actually confused about how to understand nature: he drifts between thinking of nature as something to read and nature as an anthropomorphic presence. This work was inspired by Chinese literati landscape painting, a mode of art that used images of nature as a vocabulary rather than as representation of specific landscapes. For these literati, landscape was a metaphor for personal experience; for the confused professor in A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, these pictures of the autumnal forests of Maine become a text that defeats reading. The book was composed through archival inkjet, offset litho and letterpress printing, housed in a laser-cut birch plywood case.

    In addition to the title, Meador receives a $2,500 cash prize. The four finalists each receive a $500 cash award.

    The MCBA Prize 2013 jury consists of:
    Sarah Bodman, Senior Research Fellow for Artists’ Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), University of the West of England;
    Sandra Kroupa, Curator of Book Arts and Rare Books at the University of Washington Libraries;
    Buzz Spector, book, installation and mixed media artist, and Dean of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Finalists for The MCBA Prize 2013 included:
    Amy Borezo (Orange, MA), Labor/Movement (seven workers)
    Inge Bruggeman (Portland, OR), the infinite between us
    Aaron Cohick / NewLights Press (Colorado Springs, CO), What You Will
    Barbara Tetenbaum (Portland, OR) and Julie Chen (Berkeley, CA), Glimpse

    The jury also awarded three Special Recognitions of Merit:
    Maureen Cummins (High Falls, NY), Accounting
    Marlene MacCallum (Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada), Glaze: Reveal and Veiled
    Heidi Neilson (Long Island City, NY), Atlas Dream Sequence

    All eight honored works will remain on display at MCBA through August 4, 2013.

    View all of the entries for The MCBA Prize 2013 in MCBA’s online gallery, MCBAPrize.org.

    The MCBA Prize was presented in conjunction with Book Art Biennial 2013 (July 25-28), a series of events, exhibitions and workshops that explore contemporary practice in the book arts. This year’s Biennial programming explored the intersections between book art and film. Historically as well as in contemporary practice, artists blur and perforate the boundaries between these two disciplines, both of which are time-based and grounded in sequential visual communication. From examinations of contemporary innovations in visual narrative to the influence of classic filmmaking on mid-century book design, the Book Art Biennial 2013 Symposium continues a tradition of stimulating critical thinking and dialogue.