(pulled from the New Manifesto of the NewLights Press)

The processes of building the book, as a unique object or as a multiple, give way to a particular mode of production. These processes, such as typing, setting lead type, stenciling, stamping, folding pages, sewing signatures, are repetitive and machinelike, but they are performed by a person, by hand. They are hand-mechanical. Such processes can be found in and can inform any other artistic discipline as well, as seen in printmaking in its broad sense, painting/drawing (as in the stripe paintings of Frank Stella and the wall drawings of Sol Lewitt), the fiber arts (crocheting, knitting), and even writing (the “uncreative writing” of Kenneth Goldsmith).

The idea of the hand-mechanical draws the making of books away from the preciousness of the “handmade,” of the consummate taste/skill of the master craftsperson (vestiges of authority there), and towards the literality of industrial processes, without losing the methodical rigor so valued in the book arts and so necessary to independent production.
[…] “Meaning” partially or totally converted into “use” is the secret behind the widespread strategy of literalness […]. The narratives of Kafka and Beckett seem puzzling because they appear to invite the reader to ascribe high-powered symbolic and allegorical meanings to them and, at the same time, repel such ascriptions. The truth is that their language, when it is examined, discloses no more than what it literally means. The power of their language derives precisely from the fact that the meaning is so bare. […]

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