Robyn Sassen
Navigating the Bookscape: Artists’ Books & the Digital Interface (extract)
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Some years ago, I wrote an article on Artists’ Books in South Africa which I premised with a quote by Ezra Pound. He said "a book should be a ball of light in one’s hands". Thinking of the challenge that David Paton has set himself in curating this exhibition and masterminding this project, this quote becomes not only a poetic reading of any book, but also a literal explication of the cleavage between traditional codex and its electronic or cyber counterpart.

This exhibition aims to do several things. On the one hand it showcases what has been done with the traditional parameters set by the notion ‘Artist’s Book’ and what can be done with the nebulous and often difficult to define medium, container, discourse. On the other, it aims to open up questions around what the digital interface can bring to the conventions of the codex. In teasing out these possibilities, Paton commissioned five artists to make work to contribute to the show, and to justify and balance their work in defining it.

But is the Artist’s Book about reading, about looking, about thinking, or about all three? Is it about the artists’ sense of wonder and exploration in creating an interactive thing that brings the audience as a collaborative participant in the experience of the work? Is it about the quietude invested in the act of paging through a sequenced narrative of sorts? Each commissioned artist confronts and plays with the notion Artist’s Book from a different conceptual space.