February 13, 2009
Craig Saper is an amazing guy. When he couldn’t get travel funds to deliver a paper on Bob Brown’s “Readies” at a panel I chaired at the Modernist Studies Association conference a few years ago, he sent a DVD of himself, reading his paper from an airplane seat, wearing sunglasses. Midway through, the video began speeding up and slowing down, and the audio track was punctured by bleeps, like a badly edited R-rated movie on TV. It was all part of the performance, on reading technologies and obscenity. I wish I still had a copy of it.
— Kenny Goldsmith, “Littany (for Albie)”
Well, Craig’s curated (with Theo Lotz) an exhibition at the University of Central Florida called TypeBound, on books-as-sculpture. Warning: the web site is actually kind of crummy, animated image files and links that download PDFs instead of going to pages. But the exhibits! Amazing stuff: books made of shoes, books with type written on the edges of pages, books with pages going in every direction, and a slew of typewriter poetry. Well worth checking out.
— Tom Phillips, “Miami Beach More Than a Million Poems”
From Craig’s catalog of the show:
One can appreciate the sculptural book as a precursor to future reading machines — perhaps not hand-held, but spatial, sculptural, and dependent on the place of the reader’s body. One can appreciate the sculptural book as a precursor to the virtual or holographic texts. Finally, and most importantly, one can appreciate these works as part of the tradition of two overlapping arts: book and sculpture — some might be on the side of sculpture (where the semantic content is not integrated or in dialogue with the structural form) or on the side of the book (in which the text does not refer to its three-dimensionality, material form, or to the position of the reader).
Also, make sure you check out Craig’s “Readies” site, especially the “User’s Manual,” for background on some of the retro-reading-machines he’s talking about.