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Re: [BKARTS] Handling books

Hear hear! I agree completely that the point of books (and textiles) is
the interaction, the full sensual experience. I also don't think that
anything--not even art!--is meant to last "forever", and again, that's
the point. I love an antique book that is obviously old: worn, pages
torn, cover falling off, etc. It displays a sense of history, as well
as fleetingness, and reminds me of all the other people who have
handled the book and the lives that have been touched by it. As far as
exhibitions are concerned, a sense of respect and mindful handling
should of course be encouraged (as with anything else in life!), but I
wonder if the white gloves might not give the viewer a sense that the
artist does not trust the viewer to handle with care, and perhaps even
that the viewer is somehow beneath the work, not worthy of touching &
interacting with it? I think that exhibitions and gallery spaces by
their very nature put people in a reverent frame of mind, unconsciously
encouraging respect & mindfulness. People are usually hesitant to touch
anything in a gallery unless expressly invited to do so.

 (Personally, I think that art in general needs & deserves to be
experienced on as many levels and with as many of the senses as
possible, but that's another story...)

Sarah Lawless (Canada)

On Nov 17, 2003, at 9:29 PM, Wood, Susan wrote:

First off, please trim folks. Today's digest was 97KB and most of it
repeats of the last two days' digests.

No doubt many will disagree, but a good part of the reason I am
attracted to the book as a format is the intimate nature of the book
the fact that the viewer HAS to interact with it in order to get the
complete experience. I understand the issues that arise when a book is
handled by lots of people, but I think there is something quite
about making something that is intended by its very nature to be
and then telling people they shouldn't.

I have the same issue with textiles. I also work in textiles and part
the reason is because of the haptic quality of the materials. Since
there are textile (and paper) items that have survived relatively
unscathed at least from the middle ages, obviously a bit of careful
touching and a bit of natural oil isn't the end of the world.

As to what you do in the case of exhibitions, I think the white cotton
gloves dull your feeling and in the case of fragile items are quite
likely to lead to rather than prevent damage. However, I can see the
point that they carry a message in themselves and may help to inculcate
a message of care. I'd rather see white gloves and people able to touch
than items quarantined under glass.=20

Sue W (in Oz)

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