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- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Boundaries
- From: Richard Minsky <minsky@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 00:09:12 -0400
- Message-id: <199804180407.VAA17712@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.edu>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: On the web at http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey" <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Perceptual boundaries are the limitations imposed on consciousness by the
need to maintain sanity. If the unknowable which is all existence is taken
in small doses and reified in a microstructure (neural net) as a model which
gives us something to hold on to, then the entity which challenges the
perceptual set may be rejected as threatening the illusion of reality which
allows one to get out of bed.
The artist specifically challenges the established sense of order, pushing
the boundary and enabling the culture to expand its vision. If one reads
Tolstoy's _What is Art_, Kandinsky's _Concerning the Spiritual in Art_,
Stanislavsky _On the Art of the Stage_, Koestler's _The Act of Creation_,
etc. one begins to see this thread in all creative acts, in all media. We
can also look at the Futurist manifestos of the beginning of this century,
like _A Slap in the Face of Public Taste_.
Book art is a fledgling movement with millenia of history, and it's not a
paradox. Perhaps it has no manifesto, but everyone should read Ulises
Carrion's "The New Art of Making Books" before thinking too much about it.
What is exciting at this point is that quite a few participants have
achieved serious levels of development in both the mechanical, or craft
aspects, and the conceptual, or art aspects. It is this combination of
structure, material, image, and metaphor which distinguishes book art from
The discussion of human skin in binding is neither morbid nor repulsive. At
the worst, it's academic. At best, it provides practical information for
practitioners in this field, which is a significant purpose of this list.
The fact that some subscribers found it to be in bad taste may have raised
the discussion itself to the level of art. Art is about many things, but
changing or expanding the vision of the viewer is certainly one of them.
To use a material in one's work which in itself startles the viewer is
significant if (and perhaps only if) the material is requisite in
communicating the intended metaphor (e.g., the ratskin and safety pin
binding I did on _Babel_ <http://www.minsky.com/5.htm>, or the Trilateral
Commission's _The Crisis of Democracy_ bound in sheep, gold and barbed wire
To use any animal's skin on a binding is a powerful ritual act which
requires great respect for both the animal which gave its skin and the text
which is bound. It's not a matter to be taken lightly.