Sampling Ideas around Books as Public Space



Presentation / discussion and Selection


Abstract and Poster


Ruohong Wu
José Quintanar

Files: abstract, poster

Fragments from proceedings (‘artefact submission’)’:

In 1975, Ulises Carrión wrote an article entitled The New Art of Making Books /…/. In it, he laid the foundation for a new way of understanding that object had served as a container of knowledge for so many years and centuries. Until that moment, the book had always been defined through its formal and constructive character. Ulises Carrión, gave us a definition based on emptiness and experience. The book is, I quote textually, a set of spaces. The book is also a set of moments3. Ulises Carrión tended to catch a concept that was already in the street fifteen years ago, but until then nobody had dared to define. The book, as a real art format, contradictive to the opinion of many critics, was born in the 60s. In fact that in the first half of the 20th century the book was already part of the art world. One should only point out, for example, the first Futurist manifesto of Filippo Marinetti in 1909, or the pamphlets and Dadaist and Surrealist publications, La Boite en Balise by Marcel Duchamp, or those first experiments of books which were carried out by Dieter Roth and Bruno Munari during the fifties. In that first initial stage, the book was a mere container of art. A simple warehouse.

The change produced in the sixties was due to the fact that a group of artists, headed by Ed Ruscha and Dieter Rot, began to consider that the value of the work of art would not only be the content, but also the building in which it was stored. And the form and laws that made up the content should have a direct relationship with these laws that make up the container, the building. The medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan said, and contrary to Sullivan’s ideas, function follows form4. The book is conceived in spatiotemporal terms. The content work that is constructed with the logic of the book itself, can only exist within the book because it does not make sense outside of it. And most importantly, following the original ideas of Gutenberg, for its ability to multiply indefinitely, for its ability to reach many more people than conventional art, and for being a cheap object affordable to any pocket, the book is understood, above all, as a public space. The lecture, will be a sampling of examples tends to construct all these ideas around Books as Space and Time, and books as Public Space.


Artist’s books, Public Space, Space and Time, Architecture, Narrative Structures