19th Annual NJ Book Arts Symposium, @ Alexander Library; Fri. Nov. 1


Homage to Jean Lurcat (detail of installation)
By Patricia Malarcher
Photo by D. James Dee

THE UNINVITED BOOK: The Nineteenth Annual New Jersey Book Arts Symposium
Friday, November 1, 2013
8:45 am — 5:00 pm
Archibald S. Alexander Library
New Brunswick, NJ

The Uninvited Book (NJBAS 2013), a symposium being chaired by renowned book artist & Leonia resident, Lois Morrison, will take a look at spontaneous acts of creativity: why do certain books–not all: not necessarily the books one does for juried shows, for commissions, or for teaching purposes, for technological experiments,for roundtable exchanges, or obligatory gifts, not books to combat boredom; but, certain books–whose causation might be termed undefinable, seem, like hurricanes, to come out of the blue? What are the underlying precipitating events? What roles can we ascribe to ideology, or culture, psychology, desire, love,friendship, serendipity,chance, existential angst? What role can we ascribe to the book, itself? Is there some way the unmade book radiates itself into the made world? Do books “spur us to the kiss” that bring them into being?The artists featured in the symposium, Amina Ahmed, Rosaire Appel, Andrea Dezs?, Elizabeth Jabar, Patricia Malarcher and Irmari Nacht will discuss ongoing or recent book artwork that will help to sharpen our understanding of the velleities and vagaries of the creative process.

For the first time in our nineteen-year history, the symposium will be held in the Alexander Library at 169 College Avenue, New Brunswick, and co-sponsored by The Middlesex Cultural and Heritage Commission as well as The Rutgers University Libraries. We are proud to partner with The Commission, which does so much to enrich the New Jersey cultural scene, on our first appearance in Middlesex County, and to be a part of the great tradition of cultural and historical programming at The Alexander Library.

As always there will be a book arts jam. Attendees are encouraged to bring examples of their own book art to sell, barter, display, discuss at an informal gathering at the close of the day.

The Uninvited Book will include a morning workshop given by Washington Cucurto and Maria Gomez, of Editorial Eloísa Cartonera, Buenos Aires, which will be introduced by Dr. Marcy Schwartz, of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Rutgers-New Brunswick. Attendees are invited to participate and make a book,Cartonera style, but please, if you elect to participate, bring with you a cardboard box or two (corrugated cardboard), and be sure to advise the organizers, in advance, if you intend to participate.

We are fortunate to have on hand Judith K. Brodsky, the esteemed founder of The Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions, who will sum up the proceedings, Anna Pinto, the NJBAS scribe, to create unique calligraphic name tags and Amanda Thackray, who will curate The Uninvited Book exhibit, which will run for two weeks. Exhibitors will include Amina Ahmed, Rosaire Appel, Andrea Dezs?, Karen Guancione, Elizabeth Jabar, Patricia Malarcher, MaryAnn L. Miller, Lois Morrison, Irmari Nacht, Anna Pinto, Sarah K. Stengle and Amanda Thackray.

Please see below for directions, by rail or car, to the Alexander Library.

To register for the conference, please send an email with your name, address, phone number, and whether or not you intend to …
1) participate in the morning workshop
2) bring a book or art-work for the Book Artists’ Jam
to Michael Joseph, at mjoseph@rutgers.edu.

Registration fee is $45, which includes a catered lunch.
Rate for Rutgers faculty and staff – $15
Students may attend the symposium for free but must register in advance, by calling Nancy Martin at 848-932-6156.



Hyperallergic on Digital Collagist Hilary Faye


(click to animate)

Now that we’ve experimented with text/image collages, you might want to explore working with GIFs to create animated collages (I know at least one of you has mentioned GIFs in the project proposals).

The online arts magazine Hyperallergic has an interesting article about Hilary Faye, a Melbourne-based animator, who makes “GIFs pulled from materials she’s found online and animated through collage.”

Where to begin?  Check out this simple tutorial.  And here is a servicable online GIF maker.


Oct 30, 4:30pm: “A Letter to Your Younger Self” Writing Workshop with James Lescene


Tyler Clementi Center + Writers House Collaboration
“A Letter to Your Younger Self” Writing Workshop with James Lescene
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
4:30 to 7:00 pm
Tyler Clementi Center (390 George Street, 6th Floor)
Refreshments will be served
Open to ALL undergraduate students. LIMITED SPACE: Reserve your spot by emailing rick.lee@rutgers.edu by Friday, October 25.

During this hands-on writing workshop with James Lescene, author of several young-adult titles and one of the founders of The Trevor Project, participants will explore the question: What is it you wish you had known about yourself when you were twelve, seven, or five years old–and can you tell him or her that thing? Even those with the most rudimentary writing skills can bang out a note or a letter–thus tapping into that compassionate side of themselves for themselves and revealing surprising abilities and sure-fire revelations.

Workshop participants will have the option to have their work considered for presentation at “The Letter Q at R.U.,” a public reading scheduled for Sunday, November 3, at 1 pm. In addition to workshop participants sharing their “notes,” the reading event will also feature James Clementi reading his “Letters to My Brother,” which were written to honor his younger sibling’s memory. The reading is followed by the formal unveiling and dedication of “Rivera Blue Macchia Chartreuse Lip Wrap” (2007) by artist Dale Chihuly, a gift donated by Michael Sodomick in honor of The Trevor Project and in memory of Tyler Clementi.

Guest Post: Travis Macdonald on BAR/koans


Around the time Michael Leong and I first met at Sarah Lawrence College, I was beginning my study of zen buddhism and the various poetic traditions that have accompanied this particular religious practice. I became especially engaged with the koan tradition and its inherent accretions of commentary and response. In many ways, I suspect this process intentionally mirrors the gradual growth of language itself from the representational to the metaphorical (and back to representational)…the way, within and between each generation, meanings shift and open language to re-interpretation.

Part riddle, part poem, part teaching, part text, each koan is an accumulation of layers resulting from the edits and additions made by subsequent zen masters over the centuries. With BAR/koans, I was attempting to both continue that tradition of poetic accretion and simultaneously strip away the layers to expose the core moment of human realization at the center of each passage.

I did so with a curious eye toward the digital signatures we are all so busy creating in our daily lives. What will they mean to future generations? How will civilizations-to-come encounter the fragments we leave behind minus the context that the passage of time inevitably erodes? The human mind is capable of great leaps of faith and logic. There is perhaps no better example of this capacity than the koan. But without the context of the zen tradition to frame its hidden meanings, what is left? More importantly, WHO is left to reconstruct that context?

The answer is, to me at least, obvious: Robots.

Or, at the very least, the cybernetic simulacra of humanity we seem so obsessed with evolving into. So BAR/koans started as an attempt to translate the core phrases and realizations of each koan into a language better suited to the electronic contexts and constructs I suspect will replace what we call human consciousness in the relatively near future. What better vessel than that ubiquitous symbol of mechanized capitalism, the bar code?

Using an online bar code generator, I translated the core phrases from each koan and rearranged them into a new narrative of sorts. I published a small portion of the original manuscript in a simple black and white format with bar codes over text. Then, when Erg Arts agreed to publish the collection as a whole, I worked closely with the amazing graphic designer John Moore Williams to create a more varied and visually pleasing (to the human eye, at least) form. Truth be told, Mr. Williams deserves the greatest share of the credit there. I had originally envisioned a more illustrative style that incorporated each bar code into a larger drawing but, in the end, I think his minimalist typographic treatment and arrangement was the perfect vessel for this series.

The final product is, in my opinion, a fitting representation that successfully balances the information gathering needs of both humans and machines.