Wednesday 15 April 2015

BABE 2015 - from behind the table

Our table in BABE 2015

Firstly I would like to say how impressed I was with #BABE2015 at the Arnolfini. The amount of visitors and variety of stalls was outstanding.

I would like to talk a bit about being behind the table and the chance of interacting with the public, also more importantly for them to interact with our books. I think it ties in quite nicely to the talk that we also gave at BABE entitled: 'codex: between one hand and another. A video and talk on the relationship between the reader, the book and the hand.'

We showed a video which we have been working on, where people where asked to close their eyes and talk about how the book feels. The book as an object. A still of which is above. Listening to people talk about their experiences was fascinating, as people filled the lack of sight with memories.

What is important for me as a book artist and sitting behind the table at BABE was watching people interact with the books. Experiencing and learning about them through touch. One of my books has interleaved pages which get turned over one by one. (See the images below). Watching how people approach it, pick it up and how it reveals itself to them though movement was for me really interesting. I know it sounds a bit cliche to say it, but it made me see the work in a new way. It is so easy to get caught up in the making of it, you get lost sometimes in the simplicity of things. I often wonder if people interact with the work in a way that I intended, as often my books rely on movement to convey their meaning. If people move them differently does it still convey the same thing?

'connected space' - George Cullen

The book structure is a familiar thing but when it is presented in a slightly different way, as in my book above, or in another example in some of my colleagues Egidija's work. It is an intriguing new experience that is fun to watch and be a part of. Some of Egidija's work on the table at the weekend (see below) were beautifully fragile and light. They came as unbound, folded loose sheets. The very nature of the super thin printed Japanese papers to float and catch in the wind, transformed these pieces when picked up, into a performance. There was a lightness in them that brought out a poetic romantic quality from the book, which spoke of the femininity of the paper coupled with the strength of the book structure. Something which, only as I watched people read them did I notice. 

'those frivolous readers' -  Egidija Čiricaitė

So if you are a book artists and have never been to a fair, I strongly recommend it. Having a table at BABE was a great way to critique your own work. For me at least it has sparked some thoughts in where I would like my work to progress. We make books to be read, so let people read them!


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