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Book art and the representation and communication of original sources

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 October 2019

Robert B. Riter*
Affiliation:
Assistant & Marie Drolet Bristol-EBSCO Endowed Professor, The University of Alabama, 501 Gorgas Library, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487USA Email: rbriter@ua.edu
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Abstract

Works of book art can express archival and documentary values. Book artists whose work is informed by archival and documentary evidence contribute to the wider dissemination of original sources. In supporting this function, their generative practices can be viewed as curatorial and editorial functions. How does archivally informed book art represent and communicate evidence? How can these sources operate as documentary sources? This essay offers a discussion of these questions.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© ARLIS, 2019 

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References

1. An overview of this history can be found in: Binkley, Robert C., Manual on Methods of Reproducing Research Materials: A Survey Made for the Joint Committee on Materials for Research of the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edwards Brothers, Inc., 1936)Google Scholar; Kline, Mary-Jo and Perdue, Susan Holbrook, A Guide to Documentary Editing (Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia Press, 2008)Google Scholar; Punzalan, Ricardo L., “Understanding Virtual Reunification,” The Library Quarterly Vol. 84, no. 3 (2014): 294323CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gitelman, Lisa, Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2014): 83111CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2. Professor Conway's argument is offered in reference to digital archival surrogates, but his argument can also be applied to representations communicated through book art. Conway, Paul, “Digital Transformations and the Archival Nature of Surrogates,” Archival Science 15, no. 1 (2014): 52Google Scholar.

3. Professor Johanna Drucker identities multiple categories of archival reproduction by book artists. These include the presentation of authentic records, fictional records, and facsimiles that preserve the physical characteristics of the originating forms. Drucker, Johanna, The Century of Artists’ Books (New York: Granary Books, 2004): 343351Google Scholar.

4. Cox, Richard J., Managing Records as Evidence and Information (Westport, Connecticut: Quorum Books, 2001), 3134Google Scholar; Andrea Kohashi, “The Book Artist and the Archivist: A Shared Perspective,” Archive Journal (December 2015) Issue 5, http://www.archivejournal.net/notes/the-book-artist-and-the-archivist-a-shared-perspective/; Schellenberg, T.R., Modern Archives: Principles and Techniques (Chicago: The Society of American Archivists, 2003), 1516Google Scholar.

5. Lefèvre, Pascal, “Some Medium-Specific Qualities of Graphic Sequences,” SubStance 40, no. 1 (2011): 1Google Scholar; Ham, Gerald F., “Archival Choices: Managing the Historical Record in an Age of Abundance,” The American Archivist 47, no. 1 (1984): 1516CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6. Andrea Kohashi, “Book Artist,” paragraph 5; Amanda Catherine Roth Clark, “The Handmade Artists’ Book: Space, Materiality, and the Dynamics of Communication in Book Arts,” (PhD diss., The University of Alabama, 2013), 184, http://libcontent1.lib.ua.edu/content/u0015/0000001/0001186/u0015_0000001_0001186.pdf.

7. Clark, “Handmade,” 209.

8. O'Toole, James M. and Cox, Richard J., Understanding Archives & Manuscripts (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2006), 87111Google Scholar.

9. Kline and Perdue, Guide, 1–4; Massey, Gregory D., “The Papers of Henry Laurens and Modern Historical Documentary Editing,” The Public Historian 27, no. 1 (2005): 3941CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10. “About Documentary Editing,” Association for Documentary Editing, accessed April 21, 2018, https://www.documentaryediting.org/wordpress/?page_id=482.

11. The books discussed in this essay include: White, Sara E., RIVERINE (Tallahassee, Florida: Alluvium Press, 2016)Google Scholar; Davenport, Christopher, CUPFUL/paper (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Pocket Knife Press, 2014)Google Scholar; Davenport, Christopher, Cupful/photographs (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Pocket Knife Press, 2014)Google Scholar; Hanmer, Karen, Franklin Fatigue: Reflections on life, liberty, fortune, and romance by America's founding father and Philadelphia's favorite son (Glenview, Illinois: Karen Hanmer, 2009)Google Scholar.

12. Foster, Hal, “An Archival Impulse,” October 110 (Fall 2004), 34CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Carbone, Kathy Michelle, “Artists and records: moving history and memory,” Archives and Records vol. 38, no. 1 (2017), 100CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Chapelle, Duncan, “Typologising the Artist's Book,” Art Libraries Journal 28, no. 4 (2003), 1, 3Google Scholar.

13. Carbone, “Moving,” 100, 112; Hawkins, Harriet, “Creative geographic methods: knowing, representing, intervening. On composing place and page.cultural geographies 22, no. 2 (2015): 259261CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14. Sara E. White's RIVERINE is examined as a presentation of community records and memory; Christopher Davenport's CUPFUL/paper is examined as a presentation of environmental records and data; Karen Hanmer's Franklin Fatigue is examined as a presentation of historical records and artifacts.

15. Chapelle, “Typologising,” 1, 3; Burkhart, “Mongrel Nature” 253.

16. Foster, “Impulse,” 3–4; Carbone, “Moving,” 100–102, 112.

17. Foster, “Impulse,” 4.

18. Foster, “Impulse,” 5.

19. Carbone, “Artists,” 100.

20. Drucker, Century, 343–351.

21. Carbone, “Artists,” 100, 112; Foster, “Impulse,” 3–4; Clark, “Handmade,” 100.

22. Drucker, Johanna, “Critical Issues/Exemplary Works,” The Bonefolder vol. 1, no. 2 (Spring 2005), 56Google Scholar; Simon, John Y., “Editorial Projects as Derivative Archives,” College & Research Libraries vol. 35, no. 4 (July 1974): 291294CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

23. Suzy, TarabaNow What Should We Do With Them?: Artists’ Books in the Curriculum,” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage 4, no. 2 (2003): 115116Google Scholar.

24. Chemero, Andrea, Seigel, Caroline, and Wilson, Tenie, “How Libraries Collect and Handle Artists' Books,” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America 19, no. 1 (2000): 22Google Scholar.

25. Drucker, “Exemplary Works,” 5–6; Clark, “Handmade,” 232–233.

26. Horowitz, Risa, “Introduction: As if from nowhere…artists’ thoughts about research-creation,” RACAR: revue d'art Canadienne / Canadian Art Review, vol. 39, no. 1 (2014): 25Google Scholar.

27. Additional information regarding their work can be found on their artist websites: Pocket Knife Press [Christopher Davenport], “Pocket Knife Press,” accessed on April 21, 2018, https://pocketknifepress.com; Alluvium Press [Sara E. White], “Alluvium Press,” accessed on April 21, 2018.,http://www.saraewhite.com; Karen Hanmer, “Karen Hanmer,” accessed on April 21, 2018, http://www.karenhanmer.com.

28. Davenport's description of CUPFUL/paper can be found at: Pocket Knife Press (Christopher Davenport), “CUPFUL/paper,” accessed on April 21, 2018, https://pocketknifepress.com/2014/05/15/cupfulpaper/. His description of Cupful/photographs can be found at: Pocket Knife Press (Christopher Davenport), “Cupful/photographs,” access on April 21, 2018, https://pocketknifepress.com/2014/05/14/cupful/.

29. Pocket Knife Press (Christopher Davenport), “CUPFUL/paper,” website.

30. Camden M. Richards, “Landscape & Memory: The Untapped Power of Artists' Books to Effect Social Change,” (PhD dissertation, Corcoran College of Art + Design, 2011), 2-3, 24, 26-27, https://scholarspace-etds.library.gwu.edu/downloads/kw52j808s?locale=en.

31. Pocket Knife Press (Christopher Davenport), “About,” accessed on April 21, 2018, https://pocketknifepress.com/about-2/.

32. Pocket Knife Press (Christopher Davenport), “CUPFUL/photographs,” website; Camden, “Landscape,” 9.

33. Davenport, CUPFUL/paper, last sheet [gray].

34. Pocket Knife Press (Christopher Davenport), “About,” website.

35. Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, LLC, “Pocket Knife Press,” CUPFUL/paper, Catalog Entry, Accessed on April 21, 2018, http://www.vampandtramp.com/finepress/p/Pocket-Knife-Press.html.

36. The description of the water collection/papermaking sites is located in the inside back cover of CUPFUL/paper: Davenport, CUPFUL/paper, inside back cover.

37. Pocket Knife Press (Christopher Davenport), “Cupful/photographs,” website.

38. Quotation from Davenport's artist statement: Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, LLC, “Pocket Knife Press,” CUPFUL/paper, Catalog Entry, Accessed on April 21, 2018, http://www.vampandtramp.com/finepress/p/Pocket-Knife-Press.html.

39. Barnes, Alison, “Geo/graphic design: the liminal space of the page,” Geographical Review 103, no. 2 (2013): 164165CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Clark, “Handmade,” 18, 204, 185, 184; Richards, “Landscape,” 24, 26–27, 35.

40. Camden, “Landscape,” 9; Oliver, Gillian, Kim, Yunhyong, and Ross, Seamus, “Documentary genre and digital recordkeeping: red herring or a way forward?Archival Science 8, no. 4 (2008): 296297CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Stradling, David and Stradling, Richard, Where the River Burned: Carl Stokes and the Struggle to Save Cleveland (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2015): 1718Google Scholar.

41. Examples of these sources include: “Black Warrior River,” American Rivers, accessed April 21, 2018, https://www.americanrivers.org/river/black-warrior-river/; “Issues,” Black Warrior Riverkeeper, accessed April 21, 2018, https://blackwarriorriver.org/issues/; and Johnson, Gregory C., Kidd, Robert E., Journey, Celeste A., Zappia, Humbert, and Atkins, J. Brian, “Environmental setting and water-quality issues of the Mobile River basin, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee,” US Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program, Water-Resources Investigations Report (2002): 13, 21, 26, 29, 45, 46–47, 5962Google Scholar.

42. Karen Hanmer, “Franklin Fatigue,” accessed April 21, 2018, http://www.karenhanmer.com/gallery/piece.php?gallery=historyculture&p=franklin; Hanmer, Karen, Franklin Fatigue: reflections on life, liberty, fortune, and romance by America's founding father and Philadelphia's favorite son (Glenview, Illinois: Karen Hanmer, 2009)Google Scholar.

43. Hanmer, “Franklin Fatigue,” website.

44. Portraits of Franklin included on the cover and page illustrations are by Henry Maron, and are courtesy of the Library of Congress: Hanmer, Franklin Fatigue, inside front cover, colophon. The printed artifacts presented in the work are derived from digital surrogates contained in the Library of Congress’ Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/: Hanmer, Franklin Fatigue, colophon.

45. The most comprehensive documentary edition of Franklin materials is the Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Yale University Press). This edition is published in print, and is also available electronically through Yale University Press's digital edition (www.franklinpapers.org) and the National Archives’ Founders Online project (https://founders.archives.gov/about/Franklin).

46. Simon, “Derivative,” 294.

47. MacNeil, Heather, “Trust and professional identity: narratives, counter-narratives and lingering ambiguities,” Archival Science 11 (2011), 183184CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

48. Hanmer, Franklin Fatigue, title page [recto and verso]; Kline and Perdue, Guide, 38–40. Hanmer's introductory note serves as an editorial statement, commenting on the themes and intentions that influenced the selection of source material.

49. Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, LLC, “Sara E. White,” RIVERINE, Artist Statement, Online Catalog Entry, Accessed on April 21, 2018 http://www.vampandtramp.com/finepress/w/Sara-White.html

50. Chaffin, Frank V., “Dwelling and Rhythm: The Isle Brevelle as a Landscape of Home,” Landscape Journal 7, no. 2 (1988): 96–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Houck, Oliver A., Down on the Batture (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2010): 24Google Scholar.

51. Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, LLC, “Sara E. White,” RIVERINE, Online Catalog Entry.

52. Mosely, Tim, “The Haptic and the Emerging Critical Discourse on Artists Books,” Journal of Artists Books 39 (2016): 3738Google Scholar.

53. Bastian, Jeannette A., “The records of memory, the archives of identity: celebrations, texts and archival sensibilities,” Archival science vol. 13, no. 2–3 (2013): 127129CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

54. Vamp & Tramp Booksellers, LLC, “Sara White,” RIVERINE, Online Catalog Entry.

55. Cox, Richard J., Documenting Localities (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001), 4648Google Scholar. As an archivally informed object, White's book is a community-supported work, and contains community archival documentation. There are parallels between White's work and community and community supported archival initiatives; see: Flinn, Andrew, “Community histories, community archives: some opportunities and challenges,” Journal of the Society of Archivists 28, no. 2 (2007): 151176CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

56. White, RIVERINE, inside front cover of chemise.

57. The records included in RIVERINE originate from the Batture Dwellers Association Records 1949 to 1958, housed in Tulane University's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library Special Collections: https://specialcollections.tulane.edu/archon/?p=collections/controlcard&id=353. White, RIVERINE, inside front cover of chemise.

58. Drucker, Johanna, “Graphic Devices: Narration and Navigation,” Narrative 16, no. 2 (2008): 121–22Google Scholar.

59. MacNeil, Heather, “Picking Our Text: Archival Description, Authenticity, and the Archivist as Editor,” The American Archivist 68, no. 2 (2005): 268271CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

60. Kohashi, “Book Artist,” paragraphs 2–4; Clark, “Handmade,” 204.

61. Conway, “Surrogates,” 8; Foster, “Impulse,” 6; Richards, “Landscape,” 22, 35.

62. Reese, Harry, “The Tactility of Artists’ Books,” in Making Artist Books Today: A Workshop in Poestenkill, New York, August 18th-23rd, 1997, ed. von Lucius, Wulf D. and Kaldewey, Gunnar A. (Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius, 1998), 2930Google Scholar.

63. The works created by Davenport, Hanmer, and White function as responses to alternative archival/communication structures, as articulated by Professor Bowker; see: Bowker, Geoffrey C., “The Archive,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies vol. 7, no. 2 (June 2010): 212214CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

64. Foster, “Impulse,” 4; Reese, “Tactility,” 29-30; Clark, “Handmade,” 176.

65. Kohashi, “Book Artist,” paragraph 9.

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