From Tony White, “From the Guest Editor,” JAB: The Journal of Artists’ Books number 25 (Spring 2009): p. 3:

[…] In the 1950s, Eugene Feldman started referring to the offset press as his brush and the paper as his canvas. “Painting with the press” was how he described his process of artistic experimentation that he conducted after business hours on the Harris high-speed rotary offset press in his commercial shop. In the 1960s Joe Ruther used the phrase “playing with the press” to describe his experimental approach to pre-press and printing experiments and production. In the late 1970s Philip Zimmermann coined the phrase “production not reproduction” to parse the difference between artistic works and commercially printed products for our industrial society. […] [italics added]

From Roland Barthes, “From Work to Text,” Image, Music, Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), reprinted in Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, ed. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), p. 968-9:

[…] The work is normally the object of a consumption; no demagogy is intended here in referring to the so-called consumer culture but it has to be recognized that today it is the “quality” of the work (which supposes finally an appreciation of “taste”) and not the operation of reading itself which can differentiate between books: structurally, there is no difference between “cultured” reading and casual reading in trains. The Text (if only by its frequent “unreadability”) decants the work (the work permitting) from its consumption and gathers it up as play, activity, production, practice. This means that the Text requires that one try to abolish (or at the very least to diminish) the distance between writing and reading, in no way by intensifying the projection of the reader into the work but by joining them in a single signifying practice. The distance separating reading from writing is historical. In the times of the greatest social division (before the setting up of democratic cultures), reading and writing were equally privileges of class. Rhetoric, the great literary code of these times, taught one to write (even if what was then normally produced were speeches, not texts). Significantly, the coming of democracy reversed the word of command: what the (secondary) School prides itself on is teaching to read (well) and no longer to write (consciousness of the deficiency is becoming fashionable again today: the teacher is called upon to teach pupils to “express themselves,” which is a little like replacing a form of repression by a misconception). In fact, reading, in the sense of consuming, is far from playing with the text. “Playing” must be understood here in all its polysemy: the text itself plays (like a door, like a machine with “play”) and the reader plays twice over, playing the Text as one plays a game, looking for a practice which re-produces it, but, in order that that practice not be reduced to a passive, inner mimesis (the Text is precisely that which resists such a reduction), also playing the Text in the musical sense of the term. […] [emphasis added]

No comments: