Action/Interaction: Book/Arts Conference June 8-10, Chicago

Columbia College’s Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts is hosting “Action/Interaction: Book/Arts Conference 2007.”

From the event website:

An opportunity to raise the level of critical discourse among students and practioners in the book arts field; to examine what we do as artists and why and how the field is evolving. The conference events will be fully documented in the Fall issue of JAB: The Journal of Artists’ Books

A program of lectures and participatory guided discussions crafted to stimulate active participation among conference attendees
A juried exhibition surveying contemporary work from centers of book arts around the country
A book fair in which students, artists, publishers, and vendors can showcase and sell current work
On Saturday night conference attendees are invited to share their work through readings, performance, or other interactive displays of book arts led off first by a perfomance by Marshall Weber of Booklyn. [Let us know if you have something you'd like to share and if it requires special equipment.]

The conference will take place in the historic Ludington Building, home to the Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Art in the heart of Chicago’s South Loop. It is scheduled to coincide with the annual Printer’s Row Book Fair, the midwest’s largest free outdoor literary event ocurring in the nearby Printer’s Row neighborhood.”

Full speaker’s list, including Johanna Drucker, is listed here.

There is a terrific series of “Guided Discussion Sessions” listed on that same page:

The Guided Discussion Sessions wlll provide a forum for conference attendees to actively engage with other artists, students, and educators in the field to discuss topics of common interest in order to reveal a broad range of perspectives and help shape the discourse of the field. Discussion leaders will begin the session with a presentation which frames the issues and then open the floor for discussion. Sessions will run in two parallel tracks with pairs of concurrent discussions.

Guided Discussions 1: Saturday 11:15 – 12:00
1A: Shaping a New Critical Discourse for the Field – Mary Tasillo, University of the Arts
How can we forge a new type of critical discourse which incorporates creative formats, disparate perspectives, and the wide variety of media that are pertinent to the book arts? How can we liberate our discussions from a focus on form and create a radical criticism befitting our discipline?

1B: Exhibiting Artists’ Books: Problems and Solutions – Judith Hoffberg, Umbrella Online
Who should exhibit artists’ books (museums or libraries or…)? Why must we exhibit them? How and where should we exhibit them? How can we invite people from different disiciplines to see the book not as a nostalic artifact, but as works that can explain different approaches to technology, science, fantasy, narrative, history, economics, and politics?

Guided Discussions 2: Saturday 1:30 – 2:15
2A: Beyond Artifacts: Book Arts as Practice – Andrew Eason, University of West England
How can different roles and practices within the book arts, rather than the identification of formal elements of value within its artifacts, provide a framework to engage with the field? How might we think about the artist’s actions and intentions instead of focusing just on the resulting artifact? How does this reshape our understanding of the field as a place for action, both for the artist and the reader?

2B: Artists’ Books and Mainstream Publication – Jen Blair, Columbia College Chicago
Is is desirable for book artists to pursue mainstream publication? How do we develop strategies to familiarize editors and publishers with our artistic aims and convine them of the salability of our books? If mainstream publication is not the answer, how do we create more opportunities for distribution and sale?

Guided Discussions 3: Saturday 2:30 – 3:15
3A: Crossing Boundaries: New Conceptions for the Book – Jonathan Lill, MoMA Archives
As books are needed less and less as conveyors of information in our society, how can book artists refashion them as a locus for pure expression and imaginative experimentation? How can we move away from parochial and antiquated methods and definitions (fine printing and binding, traditional ideas of text and image interaction, dusty concepts of subject and content) and explore other forms of visual and textual production? What can we learn from comic books or Meso-american, Middle Eastern, and Indian manuscript traditions and ideas and styles of text and images which differ so profoundly from those of our print tradition?

3B: Considering Artists’ Books Online – Amanda D’Amico and Phoebe Esmon, University of the Arts
How can the electronic database, Artists Books Online, best serve the book arts community? Is it designed to attract people from outside of the discipline? Is it a critical catalog designed primarily for the dissemination of information within the book arts community? How does it relate to the ongoing discourse within the field regarding the creation and maintenance of a cannon?

Guided Discussions 4: Sunday 11:00 – 11:45
4A: Graphic Design and the Book Arts – Karen White, University of Arizona
What are the crossovers between graphic design and the book arts? How can book arts and book arts collections be used to inspire experimentation in graphic arts programs. How could the relationships between these fields and overlaps in practices be used to improve both graphic design and book arts education?

4B: Artists’ Books and Contemporary Art – Tango Book Arts: Karen Murken, Katie Baldwin & Lindsey Mears
How can the four characteristics of books: visual language, interactivity, containment, and temporality, help to situate book arts within the greater realm of contemporary art? How do they give structure to the artist’s book and help us redefine the book as art at a time in which art is moving in a direction that is increasingly accessible and collaborative?

Click here for a Registration form in PDF format.

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