This post is speculative in nature, a loosely connected brainstorming going off of the question at the end of the last post: What if the edition is not conceived in terms of a constraint at all, but as the generative prompt for the piece? (Side note: Are a “constraint” and “generative prompt” two different things?)
One example put forth in a much earlier post was the idea of a time-based edition: an edition consists of how ever many copies can be produced within a certain amount of time. And then the question: do just finished, “good” copies count, or does everything made within that time count? Do the traditional rules of editioning still apply?
[Thinking about more ideas, a bunch of possible ways to determine the number of edition come to mind: essentially random or found number systems. But that approach just limits the number. What I like about the time-based idea is that is has would influence how the object is produced and how the edition is selected at the end.]
The edition as a concept is interesting in the sense that it defines a “single” object as existing in multiple, both one and many. And not the theoretical multiple of the infinitely reproducible, but a multiplicity that can be defined, that actually exists simultaneously.
What if one counted number of images made instead of objects produced? And the entire edition was collapsed onto a single sheet of paper? (Like a Warhol “painting?”) What if the edition immediately displayed its variance?
What if the edition comprised every print that could be made until the matrix is destroyed through use? Or what about every print made after the matrix breaks down?
What if the edition contained every print that didn’t match the master of B.A.T.?
What if the print initially occurs as a single matrix printed on a giant piece of paper, that is then divided up later? What would determine those divisions?
What if atmospheric or situational variables were combined to produce the parameters of a variant edition? Ex: the amount of people in a given space, what the temperature is in that space, versus the temperature outside, might determine what colors or pieces are used on a particular copy of a single print. The “print” is an open-ended act that incorporates its own time and situation into its making.
This is from the colophons of the NewLights Press DIY series: “This is book number n in an edition whose limits will be determined by practical use and interest.”