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Re: readin, wRitin, and lets keep in ART (yak)

 Chris copied this earlier blip...

> >If you claim books can be replaced by electronic or digitized texts,
> >        how many serious works of scholarship/research great literature
> >        historical importance  have you EVER read entirely from a

and then commented....
> For some, perhaps the most viable alternative for the time being is
> electronic publishing.  You have no argument about the discomfort of
> text from a terminal and this is certainly no substitute for replacing
>  Reading a microfiche isn't any fun either.  However, it may be simply a
> matter of survival to explore the potential of electronic publishing and
> ways to use this medium successfully.
> For some writers of esoteric material there may no longer be a venue for
> publishing their works so other viable options should be openly explored,
> denied.  Let's keep one thing in mind here, the most significant thing
> any book is content, not the covers or the paper it's printed on.  That
> to do with the aesthetic experience and it's no small matter, but not the
> most important criteria, if we are concerned about the continuance of
> literature or research.  If the concern is about the continuance of the
> arts, well it seems that there is no shortage of interest these days to
> just that.

And thanks for that!

        To me, the important content of many books is as much visual and tactile
as it is TEXTual, because the text is only one way of experiencing the
essence of what is to be communicated, and the visual and texTURal is
another...  It just depends on the purpose of the piece.  In our age of
emphasis on readin', writin', and arithmetic, may we not underestimate the
importance of fine arts in all respects... (like my kids' schools keep
shrinking and attempting to squish out altogether in lieu of those "more
important" subjects.)
          This discussion also examines part of another broader issue confronting
us as a culture... the importance of continuing visual art experience on an
intimate scale, and the importance of the tactile in an age of electronics.
 The majority of popular culture's experience with visual art has to do
with electronic, mass presentation; through TV, film, CD and computer.
Where this offers a unique opportunity for communication, as in on this
list, it has its value.  Yet it gives us a strange twist on intimacy.
Should it REPLACE the visual art experience which can take place on a
tactile, intimate level between viewer/participant and art object/(book)?
Each has its appropriate application.  Which you point out here, in part...

> We are perhaps talking about two different subjects here, one concerns
> wealth of knowledge and the ability to continue to freely convey and
> distribute this material.  The other is about the art of making books or
> appreciation of fine bindery which is a different matter altogether.
With an
> increasing awareness of the book arts I wonder if the health of this
> particular format might not be in better shape today than at mid century.
> could be wrong about this, I don't know.

         I would say that we are in a very different position now as a result of
the launching of mass electronic media mid-century.  This is a matter of
keeping balance in an age where the sweeping  influence of electronic
communication has very rapidly impacted our human experience. Artists books
and the art of the book keep the experience of a special intimacy and
tactility alive for the viewer/reader, and allows us important room for
participation, one-on-one.  (upclose and personal)

Bless all of you folks out there for keeping that alive!

Cheryl Eveland
Seven Sisters Press and Papermill; eveland@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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