Acting on a very good suggestion from Mr. Sirois, I have attempted to thoroughly document the production of these first three broadsides, and it seems appropriate to post those photographs here on the IDE(A/O)(B)LOG(Y/UE) along with a written description of how they were made—or of what went wrong—however you want to look at it.

Whenever I start a new project, I try to think through the common assumptions that we all (or myself mostly) make about certain objects and/or the way that those objects function. When I first thought of doing broadsides, my mind first went to the ones that I have done in the past (for the Dolphin Press at MICA), and to other really nice ones that I have seen. I realized that there were basically two types of broadsides: 1) all text, elegantly composed and typeset, or 2) that same well-composed text plus some sort of “appropriate” image. Sometimes the text and image will be integrated in some way, but usually they are not. There is a long, fine tradition of work of these two types and new, wonderful examples are produced by presses around the world on a regular basis. So no need for me to do that as well.

How then to approach the broadside in a way different than the “text + image” formula? In order to figure out a (provisional, as always) answer I looked at the assumption that the formula rested upon; that is, that the broadside is a two-dimensional, single page expression of a text. Within that basic definition of the broadside there are three separate claims to consider:

1) The text as a thing that exists separately from the broadside itself. That a broadside must have some sort of text—if not, then it’s a print, right? Okay, so we’ll keep the text. Not that I would ever really want to give it up.

2) The broadside is a single page. It could be some sort of diptych or triptych or multi-panel piece, but that seems awkward and is edging towards a book on the wall, and if I am going to make a book, even a two-page one, I do not want to put it on the wall. (But could one go in some sort of Warholian direction with that?) So the single page remains.

3) The broadside is two-dimensional. The strange philosophical/phenomenological distinction between 2D and 3D (both of which do and do not exist in the world, it’s all 4D) is one that I find to be infinitely fruitful. One of the reasons that I find books so fascinating is that they are objects that move continuously between 2D (pages), 3D (the object in total), and 4D (the text-object as experienced in time). So that same idea can be carried into the broadside through a method extrapolated from some of the NewLights altered books—the articulation of a sheet of paper as a three-dimensional object (which it is, and is not) through delamination (cutting into and peeling away the layers of a sheet of paper).

After arriving at that general idea for an approach to the form, the next step was finding the content. I contacted a few different writers whose work I admire, that I have worked with before, and/or who knew and felt connected to my work. Justin, Brian, and John were the first three to answer. I proposed generally what I wanted to do and they sent back pieces that they felt could mesh with the process. When I approach a text with the purpose of deconstructing-actualizing (just thought that combo up) it, I try to locate some point in the text, some nexus or cluster of potential that can be opened up to maximize the meaning-potential of the (never) total object that I intend to make. The key is to access those potential readings in a way that transfers that access and its generative possibilities to the potential readers.

So I constructed a process (which will be explained in full) that simultaneously generates and is generated by the potential objects, that integrates with and runs in contrast to the texts being utilized, that imagines the text-object-process as a chaotically contingent bloom of the action of meaning.

I knew what I was going to do, and how I was going to do it. I did not know how it would end. It started with these first three digital layouts, all developed in concert with one another and with the authors’ input:

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