Friday, June 20, 2008

Mission Manifesto

"book arts jet set"
This phrase was initially developed to jokingly poke fun at fellow itinerant book artists.

However, wider implications of this idea soon came to mind.

The book arts face distribution challenges. As a complex, yet rarified, object that must be held to be experienced properly, one must be in the presence of an artist book to grasp it.* However, these books are often limited edition or one-of-a-kind works. They are too expensive for the average person to own. Thus, one must travel to a collection or gallery to experience them. Hence, to know the field, one must travel.

Furthermore, the development of a professional community is also dependent upon the artist-critic-scholar's ability to travel, as the field is small and one naturally wants to interact with fellow book artists outside of a 5-mile radius.

Travel is increasingly expensive. Many book artists never recoup the cost of their work. Many are working outside of the support of an academic institution. Hence book arts jet set interrogates some of the very material and economic challenges of practicing in the field, as well as addressing other items of interest to friends of book arts.

*Arguably one must also be in the presence of the painting to really get it, but a painting is much simpler to digitize than a book. Thus relatively few artist books have been digitized or reproduced in other formats.

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