UNRULY TEXT / UNRULY IMAGE: (WHAT IS A BOOK IF IT WILL NOT BE A BOOK?)
Emma Bolland will be presenting a short paper at ‘Borders and Crossings: The Artist as Explorer’. The Impact8 International Printmaking Conference: a celebration of interdisciplinarity and exploration through the medium of print hosted by The University of Dundee. The conference is part of Print Scotland: 28th August – 1st September 2013. The abstract for the paper can be found below. A sound recording of the presentation and a PDF of the illustrated full paper will be posted here after the conference.
The physical book is a haptic seduction, a visual delight. In its material presence, its ability to be physically held, it offers a fragile promise of both literal and psychic binding; bounding and securing a narrative of creative ownership. Being seen as, and seeing oneself as ‘author’, is entwined with the state and status of ‘being published’, and the complex relations with a perceived parental authority of a real or imagined editor / curator, and with a desire to direct and control the readings of one’s of texts and images. A psychic ‘dust jacket’ might protect the artist’s / authors practice from pollutions that could undermine the sense of a defined and protected creative self; a literal ‘body of work’. The idea of ‘book’ could therefore be seen as a hybrid Freudian / Lacanian fetish, in that it conceals an intangible and un-writable absence, the elusive self.
The presenter’s current collaborative project, ‘MilkyWayYouWillHearMeCall’, had initially intended its outcome to be a text / image publication. The project revolves around both real and fictional narratives of the ruptured body; the body shredded, dismembered and scattered, and as the project has developed, the material being produced has become increasingly unruly, resisting both the narrative and physical bindings that might reassure the collaborators regarding both the object and subject of the work. We must now question the physical seduction of the ordered page, and ask ourselves wether we are able to imagine an alternative to the ‘dust (straight) jacket’ of binding that is the unruly and mutable possibility of the ‘creative codex’, which will open itself to a capricious restructuring by those to whom it is handed over.
Emma Bolland 2013