CFP: The Artist's Book & Materiality | Kunstlicht Spring Issue 2015 | Deadline October 17, 2014

full name / name of organization: 

The artist's book & materiality — working title
Kunstlicht, volume. 36 (2015) no. 1

Deadline proposals: 17 October 2014
Publication: Spring 2015

In a world in which our existence seems to be taking place mostly online and our memories and activities are kept 'within the cloud' – a new movement has emerged with a tendency towards the analogue. 'Material' itself has become source of fascination and identification. However, it would be too simple to explain the world in terms of this online and offline divide, rather, its interweaving shows that materiality actually traverses the border of what is called 'real' and 'virtual'. Materiality is by no means an outdated subject if its renewed attention - for example visible in the domain of the arts with the artist's book – could be used in addressing these new matters.

When talking about the book as artistic medium, often Ed Ruscha's Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) and Dieter Roth's deconstructed crafty novels are mentioned – however, artists have been part of this process of book production much longer. For example, illuminated manuscripts in the early Middle Ages were made accessible to the larger public through its integration of text, image and form. In the 18th century, the artist's book was represented by William Blake's richly illustrated books and in the early 20th century France, the 'livres d'artiste' were highly popular. Only the second half of the 20th century presented the artist's book in the way as we know it nowadays.

If we would address the questions of our times through the lens of a new analysis of the artist's book, we should first be asking ourselves if the materiality of the object would actually be attractive at all compared to the 'bodyless' existence of blogs and social media? Or could perhaps the current focus on the artist's book represent a romantic counter movement to this development? Are the freedoms and practicalities of the virtual perhaps overrated, and is an artist therefore better served with a physical product? These and other questions could direct research on the role and position of the artist's book in the 21st century.

For the first issue of 2015, Kunstlicht invites academics and artists to relate to the diverse histories of the artist's book and its role in light of the current digital world. Both reflections and opinions on the form and look of the artist's book as well as proposals on the meaning of such an object in its current form are welcome. Even so, Kunstlicht will also distance itself to critically reconsider its material form. The artist's book will be central in a magazine that examines its form as codex – a work of bundled pages – in the light of digital possibilities.

Writers and researchers are asked to send their proposals (200-300 words) including CV to before October 17th 2014. Selected authors will then be asked to write an article of 2000-3000 words (footnotes not included). Texts in both English and Dutch are welcome, however, we request Dutch writers to write in their mothertongue. Authors will receive three issues after publication. Kunstlicht does not provide copyright fees. Published articles will be added to the free online archive after three years.