Saturday, December 21, 2013

'A Book is a Situation'

The rainbow attaches itself

Some speculative writing:

I coined the above titlephrase in a notebook back in 1997 when thinking about my digital work, as I often used the form of the book (metaphor of the book(?)) both to structure my material and suggest perhaps the idea of the 'magic book' - a book in which the images and words 'come to life'.

Books can of course be magical in themselves, in the realm of the mind, but when I first started reading I can remember the childhood desire for pages to be animate and responsiveor even an environmenta place that you could step inside and visit. Some early reading even suggested this in itself: 'Alice in Wonderland', 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' -and even the film 'Mary Poppins' (Stevenson 1964), where it was possible to jump into a coloured chalk drawing sketched on the ground.

Boy in a Box
The illustrations in books assist in this, especially engravingswhere the intricate lines conspire to hypnotize and beckon the eye.

This seems to me a natural, intuitive aspect of what is now called metatextuality: something beyond the rigid, one dimensional code of reading that insists that writing is closed, that chalk drawings are unvisitable, that you cannot 'cut a hole in the sky' (à la Yoko Ono). The creative tension lies in the paradox that you are both aware of reading a text and transcending it at the same time.

So perhaps a book is best thought of as not being defined by print and paper but in relation to what it encloses, what it offers:
'A Book is an Environment'
'A Book is a Clearing'
'A Book is a...' offered over to a fresh phrase picked by author/reader.

In this, the idea of the book becomes an organising principle, independent of the material from which it is constructed.

It is this thought that entices me to make Lectra in the form of interactive, digital books
(and bookworks in the form of interactive, printed books ;-)

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