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Project Statement

by J. Drucker

Just As is one of the books I conceived as a dialogue with popular culture forms, traditional fiction and prose production, and the problem of finding forms to process the experience of contemporary life. I was living in Oakland at the time I produced this in the warehouse. I'd worked at the Oakland Museum and East Bay Regional Park District in 1979-80, and had gone back to school at Berkeley. Judith Barry helped me get this L.I.N.E. grant, and I'd met her through Bertrand Augst, my advisor and beloved mentor. I had reconnected with the poetry scene, and all of the images in this book are drawn from real places and experiences in Oakland and San Francisco. The warehouse, downtown, 80 Langton Street, the museum, all are part of this book, as are the weird science fiction and popular culture dreams of the early 1980s. The patterns in the graphics are very distinctly 1980s, and mark a shift for me from illusionistic pen-and-ink or graphite to pattern-conspicuous drawings. I wanted the book to scream "graphic" and to have a pop-culture reference to it. The writing, as per usual, is densely figured from multiple sources, not as cut-up work, but as processed text. This project was conceived in dialogue with another work, Against Fiction, even if on the surface no obvious connection exists. Just As was meant to take up observation into image-as-language, thus the "just as" aspect of the title. Just as an image can resemble so can language resemble an image, observation, phenomenon. No attempt at transparency was in play, of course, and the extent of the graphical-ness in the visual presentation is meant to emphasize that this is a long way from naturalism. The "as" is a sliding term, meant to slip you from one register to another, so that the "just" is a term of quasi-equivalence, not real equivalence, among orders of representation. But the implication is also that this book is "just as" the world is, while Against Fiction is a narrative of "as ifs" -- speculations that take their point of departure from forms of fiction, not from any presumption of relation to observed, felt, or experienced phenomena.

Just As

Johanna Drucker


Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


born: United States
active: United States

birth: 1952-05-30

Publication Information

publisher: Druckwerk

production: 1982 The drawings and writing were done in 1982-83.
publication: 1983

publication history: Back cover reads: "This publication is made possible with funds from LINE. Copyright 1983 Johanna Drucker" [A. Pratt]

Aesthetic Profile

other graphic novel

artists' books (LCSH)

themes: The production of memory and historical knowledge in an urban environment. [A. Pratt]

themes: Urban life and language. [J. Drucker]

content form:
experimental text (local)
prose (local)

publication tradition:
graphic novel (local)

inspiration: The work of Frances Butler, particularly her fabric designs, but also the collaboration between her and Alistair Johnston, the MappaMundi. Those drawings knocked me out. Though I didn't think I could do anything at that skill level, I still wanted to try for the graphic impact. [J. Drucker]

related works: Against Fiction. [J. Drucker]

community: other Printers and book artists in the Bay Area, as well as the poets. [J. Drucker]

note: Book resembles a large-format avant-garde comic. [A. Pratt]