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Project Statement

by J. Drucker


This project was originally conceived when Brad Freeman and I were invited to participate in a project initiated by a curatorial team working with the Smithsonian in which artists were to respond to a work in the Bern Dibner Collection in the history of science and technology. That invitation came as we were moving from New York to New Haven. We put the project on hold, and it took us five years to finish it, though each of us did other things along the way. The project kept to the original Smithsonian parameters -- to create a work in response to one in the Dibner Collection. We had chosen the Stradanus, Nova Reperta (Modern Inventions is a rough translation of the title), because we were fascinated by the suite of prints Stradanus had created, and by his faith in the ability of visual means to depict and communicate knowledge. Our reworkings of the plates and themes about the inventions that had had the greatest effect on modernity took the form of photographs of current technological conditions and texts that translated and reworked the information in the glosses on the plates. Brad Freeman did the photographs. I did the writing and layout designs. The book was also meant to work as a wall piece, but never quite did. The scale of the texts was too small for legibility. But the writing and images were among the strongest we each had produced to that date. In terms of production, a work sitting between digital and offset technology, it is also an interesting hybrid. All the color in the book was produced with photomechanical means, but the were processed from darkroom photography to scanner to high-end digital film output. The texts existed only in the Quark files, with notes and originals from which they were drawn or on which they were based existing as well, but not in final form until the book was printed.

Nova Reperta

Johanna Drucker

title note: The title is the same as that of the 1638 publication of Johannes Stradanus on which it was based. [J. Drucker]

Agents

Johanna Drucker

type: initiating

role:
author
designer

nationality:
born: United States
active: United States
citizenship: United States

dates:
birth: 1952-05-30


Brad Freeman

type: initiating

role:
photographer
printer
artist

nationality:
born: United States
active: United States
citizenship: United States

dates:
birth: 1951-01-23


Publication Information

publisher: Jabbooks

dates:
publication: 2000-00-00

publication history: A single edition of this work was produced, this one. [J. Drucker]

Aesthetic Profile

movement:
unknown

subject:
artists' books (LCSH)

themes: Modern technology and inventions. [J. Drucker]

content form:
experimental text (local)

publication tradition:
artists' book (local)

inspiration: Nova Reperta by Johannes Stradanus, printed posthumously in the early 17th century, based on a suite of his prints that had been wildly popular in the late 16th century. Stradanus lived from 1523-1605. [J. Drucker]

related works: From Now and Damaged Spring have textual similarities. For Brad, his work in MuzeLink and in Overrun have formal relations to these photographs. [J. Drucker]

other influences: Brad Freeman and I were a strong influence on each other at the time we did this book. [J. Drucker]

community: other The book arts community seemed important, more than the poetry world, though who exactly we imagined as our audience is difficult to specify. [J. Drucker]

Exhibition Information

exhibition history: Various, see c.v.

Related Documents

manuscript type: texts

location: artist's archive

note: All in existence.


manuscript type: other

location: artist's archive

note: Notes on production and conception.