Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stewart on Book Art

Garrett Stewart, writing in Critical Inquiry (Spring 2010), theorizes the nature and function of book art. In "Bookwork as Demediation", he notes that "Book sculpture is something done to a book, done with it and others like it, or done in place of it--alteration, assemblage, or simulation." He calls this action "demediation" which "peels away the message service, leaving only the material support."

Stewart notes that book art, or as he prefers to call it, "bookwork" calls attention to books' materiality:

It is one way of studying their material preconditions, and this in the absence of their function as conduits--a function absent and gone but not forgotten. For nonbooks serve to itemize the features of book-based textuality that may otherwise be subsumed and elided by the channels of tansmission.

And that is just the beginning of his analysis...

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