Printers and publishers are the most dissenting of folks. Blunt words and sharp scrutiny make for remarkable publications, and that is our view of the prints on show at the London Art Book Fair 2018.
The London Art Book Fair was well-attended on Friday but on the last day, Sunday 9 September, the Whitechapel Gallery was positively heaving with visitors.
A few titles in the book section caught our attention but the best surprise was the magCulture Quarter where we encountered some fantastic magazines and zines.
The book as a romantic technology
We got chatting to eeodo, the publishers of the Technology of Romance series written by Paul O’Kane.
Romance here is in not in the Tinder sense but in the way of Romanticism, that arts and literature movement in the 18th Century that celebrates chivalry, adventures and explorations.
We conversed briefly on technological determinism – how the medium of print influenced the narrative or poetics of literature – and on our experience working in the printing room, a rarity nowadays. Of course, technology of courtship was mentioned but more in the context of ‘remote digital engagement’ in the age of “alone together”.
As said before, the Arts and Crafts movement was a romantic resistance against the Industrial Revolution; the New Romantics a response to 1980s Big Tech appropriation. In the age of Cambridge Analytica, chat bots, AI and swipe-left consumerism, we can just feel the resistance gathering against things online, things public, things hurried and things automated.
Yes, we are anticipating another romantic movement.
Hopefully, the book launch of Technologies of Romance II can shed more light on this. It will be held at the South London Gallery, Clore Studio, London, on Wednesday 24 October 2018. The event will feature a discussion and Q&A’s with people involved in the supply chain of the book publication, from the writer and the editor to the printer and the distributor.
This will be followed by the Technologies of Romance Symposium at the Science Museum, London on Wednesday 28 November 2018. This all-day event will be held at the Dana Room, Dana Institute, 165 Queens Gate, Kensington, London SW7 5HD. Organised by Paul O’Kane, eeodo, Science Museum and Central Saint Martins. this symposium will feature artworks, performances, videos and academic papers on the symposium’s title and theme.
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shit drawings of Boris Johnson
For £2, this zine made our day. The table occupied by Less Than Five Hundress Press, the publisher, also featured poetry titles such as “Delusions of Adequacy,”, “Peace Is Not Just The Absence of War” and “Withdrawing In Disgust Is Not The Same As Apathy”.
This is dope
Of course, we know the answer to the riddle above. For his wit, we gave Spike, the artist and printmaker behind this work, £4 for it. We like to garden but are we allowed to grow this plant at home? The last time we checked, one can still get prison time for its cultivation. It will be a bookmark, then.
Surfing the London scene
This was The Point’s debut at the London Art Book Fair. The photography magazine from Croyde, North Devon, is in its sixth edition. Mark King, the publisher and photographer, produced one edition a year, each limited to 1000 prints only.
The Point profiles beach culture, surfing and the constant tension between nature and human activities. The magazine is published using 100% recycled post-consumer waste. Through photo essays, it tells the story of the sea and the surfers’ relationship with it, most potently depicted in first-person narration.
We shall feature more of The Point and King’s view on social ecology, independent publishing and surfing in our next edition of Five Minutes With.
The Lodestars Anthology is a favourite of our Creative Director, who is a former art director in travel publishing. Liz Schaffer, the Editorial and Creative Director, was a travel writer. She said she wanted an alternative travel publication that focuses on “slow travel”. We treated ourselves to 165-page of sumptuous spreads of “India”.
Fancy a Nando’s? Love in the 21st Century
Do great works of arts and literature are only possible when the two are set apart? Limbo Magazine is certainly not hesitant in embracing both, bleeding typefaces and graphics into each other to create an art form.
This is accessible poetry, not one that twists your brain about with abstract meaning. You have no fear of not knowing your couplet from your quatrain. The poem is simple and the imagery helps. If you are no fan of William Carlos Williams and think poetry is The Lady of Shallot, then you’re not going to get your fix here. Richly presented in zine format, Limbo is contemporary and succinct, holding the selfie to our life.
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