Saturday, November 7, 2009
Red pages laid out in 2 sections before momogami.
Posted by Louise Irving at 4:23 AM
Hi everyone! Perhaps you've all forgotten about this little project but I finally have the time and clarity to write about it!
It was a difficult collaboration from the beginning. 7 artists coming together from different backgrounds under the umbrella of the codex event to respond to the theme of resistance was a recipe for tension and rightly so. The process of collaboration that is invoked by codex events is peculiar in that there are no preconceived notions and no set 'design' for the work to be produced. The work is coaxed and conjured into being through the process of practical work, discussion and decision making by the group as a whole over the course of only a week or two.
It was clear from the beginning of this project that there were divisions in the way members of the group worked and wished to envisage and author the project. It was an embodiment of the example that Sara brought to the intial discussions: the case of the two embryos, originally twins, one of which is absorbed by the dominant one in the womb, interestly the submissed twin manifests itself in characteristics like an eye of a different colour, think David Bowie, revealing itself embodied literally within another. This is one way to illustrate how the group dynamics played out and guided the way the work developed.
After an intense week of working together (and against each other) we ended up with a series of pulp-printed pages which had been printed with imagery on both sides by working with them on the felts and then on the wall (see top image). The process of removing the jaggedly conjoined pages from the wall caused some fragmentation and added to the decision to break up the work into pieces to be bound individually using uniform materials but in whichever way each artist should choose. We each went home with a segment of the work with the aim of making 2 books each, a set of twins if you like.
After the intensity of the event it was almost a relief to leave the group behind and have the freedom to make individual decisions.
That said there was another avenue of bookmaking calling out to be pursued. Alongside the main wall works, a group of us had been keen to make this red work, for no good reason except just because, and because we had no great plan for it and weren't precious about it it had turned out very well. Tim and I were in the studio a week after the main event was over and decided to take this 'red' work and momogami it, scrumple it up and make it soft like cloth. It was very enjoyable crumpling up this beautiful paper and feeling it give with the effort of our hands. We made a dodgy film of the process, recording the metamorphosis of the paper from hard to soft, rigid, tense, set to pliable, supple, flexible. It was an interesting stress relief or release valve for the tension accumulated by the project to be breaking it down in this way. And the best bit was that once folded together the red pages became this really interesting soft book.
So that is pretty much where we left of. Each of us has made their set of books by now and a smaller group of us has had some input into the resolution of the soft books but where do we go from here?
I really like the image Tim posted of the collection of finished books. I am interested to see the books in person as a set and to make cases for them.
I would also like to particpate in organising an exhibition of the results, soft and hard.
Any suggestions re spaces, etc?
What do you guys think about resolving the project?
Posted by Louise Irving at 3:14 AM
Monday, June 22, 2009
hi all - everyone has signed up and wondering what to say, the image above is only temporary as not all books are in - the two books with red pages (on the left) are only to fill in while we wait for more of the books I'm still working on mine. Looking at the the books I can envisage what we agreed to at the end of the two weeks in Feb, a series of books that then were combined by one or more slip cases for exhibiting. It would be good if there were multiple slip cases so that down the track the separate books could be taken in different paths.
After the intense two weeks I look at the image above and can begin to find new momentum to move forward what does everyone else think / feel
Monday, May 25, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Willis's books were bound in my studio in Coffs Harbour, using the same dimensions of book board and the same colour bookcloth that we were all given to take away with us at the end of our labours in Lismore.
I don't think Willis would mind me saying that he was resistant to the whole project, in a way! The 'handmade' has become almost wholly absent from his work, and the mark of the maker is not important to him in his current practice (you can see his work here). Coming from a fine print background with extensive skills and experience of intaglio etching processes and other printmaking techniques, Willis has moved towards removing himself from his work and his present interests lie in the juxtaposition of beauty and weapons of war in digitally-composed, digitally-printed mandalas. A collaborative project involving making paper and then pulp-printing onto it and hand-binding the resulting work was something of a challenge and I think that's reflected in the imagery he selected for 'his' books and their binding. The pages of the red-covered book are folded over and sewn into the spine, and the pages of the blue-covered book are bound inside-out so that they cannot be opened in the ordinary way! This contrary quality says something about Willis's personality and about his playful response to the project.
The Codex events at SCU promote and develop skills in making paper,
particularly Tim Mosely's development of pulp printing
This year Tim set the theme of 'resistance', with the result that participants in the event felt able to resist an over-arching interpretation of the theme.
Contradictory ideas are juxtaposed within a very sparse visual framework: available time, the size of the handmade sheets of paper and a palette determined by the coloured clothing shredded and beaten to make the paper pulp were really the only restrictions, and even they were debated at length. Antibiotic-resistent molecules, spiky cacti, razor-wire, cogs and archaic text forms are overlayed. Even the edges of the paper sheets are defiant: gaps and spaces, ragged edges against straight ones, pulp-printed images spilling off the edges of the paper. The images jostle and compete but achieve a sort of workable compromise on the page.
Determining the number and form of the desired outcome, which was book(s), was also hotly debated. Again, parameters were set by pre-existent limitations: the book-binding skills of individual participants and their geographical location, together with a requirement to make at least part of the project available to SCU's artists' book collection and the participants' natural desire to take something home with them.
The overlapping sheets of paper were taken down from the walls on which they'd been mounted for overprinting with paper pulp, assembled and cut into long strips. Eventually 16 'sets' of papers resulted, to be made into books with covers unified by their overall size and the availability of coloured book cloths.
Artists then chose which strips would form 'their' books and took them away to bind them
The resulting books will be eventually be assembled into a boxed set.