member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life


This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo


(Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reinventing the Book

From brian dettmer


From brian dettmer


From brian dettmer

"The Wonderland of Knowledge"

"When I enter a cafe, the first thing I perceive are implements. Not things, not raw matter, but utensils: tables, seats, mirrors, glasses and saucers... Taken as a whole, they belong to an obvious order. The meaning of this ordering is an end — an end that is myself, or rather, the man in me, the consumer that I am. Such is the surface appearance of the human world... Now let us describe the cafe topsyturvy.

"...Here, for example, is a door. It is there before us, with its hinges, latch and lock. It is carefully bolted, as if protecting some treasure. I manage, after several attempts, to procure a key; I open it, only to find that behind it is a wall. I sit down and order a cup of coffee. The waiter makes me repeat the order three times and repeats it himself to avoid any possibility of error. He dashes off and repeats my order to a second waiter, who notes it down in a little book and transmits it to a third waiter. Finally, a fourth waiter comes back and, putting an inkwell on my table, says, 'There you are.' 'But,' I say, 'I ordered a cup of coffee.' 'That's right,' he says, as he walks off.

"If the reader, while reading a story of this kind, thinks that the waiters are playing a joke or that they are involved in some collective psychosis, then we have lost the game. But if we have been able to give him the impression that we are talking about a world in which these absurd manifestations appear as normal behaviour, then he will find himself plunged all at once into the heart of the fantastic."
— Jean-Paul Sartre


Now,
Here, for example, is a book:

From brian dettmer

"Mound"

And here is a map:
From brian dettmer

"Travel Plans"


Brian Dettmer's sculpture deals with what he perceives (he hasn't been to my house) as the dying out of the use of books as a result of the new media form we're using here--the net. As the books are no longer used as "books," that is as sources for information, he re-constructs them as other things: skulls, hollows, collages... Looking at his work, you wander into a world where books can't be opened, where they don't fit correctly on a shelf, and where you might really know the writer's intention by looking at the cover.

From brian dettmer

(heading down the rabbit hole)

Ever been in a dream where you're madly searching for information in a book, but the pages stick together, or they all show the same thing? Or..

From brian dettmer


Dettmer explains: “Old books, records, tapes, maps, and other media frequently fall into a realm that too much of today’s art occupies. Their intended role has decreased or deceased and they often exist simply as symbols of the ideas they represent rather than true conveyers of content. ... When an object's intended function is fleeting, the necessity for a new approach to its form and content arises.” (Valdez 2006).

And so he leaves us with an international dictionary that contains no words:
From brian dettmer

"Webster's New International Dictionary"

and a dictionary that is reverting back to tree form. Or branching out? (sorry)

From brian dettmer


From brian dettmer


He has also created an entire series from one book called Key Monuments of the History of Art. He tells us, "The first one is carved from the front, the second, and open front, the third is carved from the open face back towards the beginning and into the end and the fourth and fifth are in from the back, so the chronological path is reversed. They all approach space/time from a different direction. All five will be in a solo show with Toomey Tourell in San Francisco which will open Sept. 3 this year (2009)."
From brian dettmer


From brian dettmer



From brian dettmer


Note the iconic profile of Queen Nefertiti, whose crown is filled with other monuments here. She was key in altering the view of "the gods" of her people to "God," that is, Aten. She also enjoyed an exceptional amount of power for her time, possibly attaining a status equal to that of her husband, the pharaoh--sort of a move in the opposite direction... (This is suggested by the size of her image in artworks of her time, in comparison to his).






Antonia Pocock says:
"The multifaceted surfaces of Dettmer's books not only resemble natural landscapes, but also mimic the haphazard, multidirectional structure of the internet. Certain book-sculptures fragmented by sharp square cuts reveal a pixelated picture, further contaminating the static vector of the book with the dynamic, digital mosaic of the computer screen."


From brian dettmer

"Science in the 20th Century"

Dettmer describes his process:
"I begin with an existing book and seal its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. I cut into the cover of the book and dissect through it from the front. I work with knives, tweezers and other surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each page while cutting around ideas and images of interest." He clear-coats the freshly-cut pages to as he works to hold them in place, adding a final overall clear coat at the end.
“A book needs to feel right, it needs to have the right size and paper type. There needs to be enough diversity and variety. There needs to be a subject of interest with illustrations or photographs or text. I’ll flip through the pages before I seal them up and sometimes I’ll see an image and think, ‘I hope I come across that.’ But once I seal up the book, there’s a degree of randomness, a lack of control because I don’t move or add anything. I never plan what I’m going to come across. That’s one of the things that keeps it interesting to me. That in itself is like reading in a way because I don’t know what’s on the next page when I’m carving through. I never have a picture of what it’s going to look like when I’m done.”

Some more:
From brian dettmer

"music of the world"

From brian dettmer


From brian dettmer

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