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Production Narrative

by J. Drucker

The original manuscript was composed procedurally. A single line was written throughout the notebook from the top of one page to another. That fixed the sequence of pages, and made it necessary to retain all the pages in their sequence if that line was to read properly. The different stories in the book were intercut, but they were not written either sequentially or simultaneously. First the stories began, and then they would be broken off and continued at a random place, further into the notebook. The next story would proceed the same way. Little by little, the notebook was full of segments of text with blanks in between. These were gradually filled in with another, final story. The texts at the botom of the pages were from notes taken in lecture and class, and would simply stream along at their own pace, sometimes outstripping the narratives, and sometimes lagging behind. Typesetting the text to create a mockup of pages that could be copied and printed required some attention to the spacing and leading, as well as font size, style, and other distinctions, so that the interwoven lines of text and theme could be kept distinct. The typesetting was done on a dot matrix printer, from Unix files, but as a last and only resort for creating some kind of typographic version of the manuscript. It was too long to set in letterpress, and I no longer had access to phototypesetting equipment

Critical Analysis

by J. Drucker

Design Features

typographic: Singularly ugly, very much the product of that brief period in time when dot matrix printers were used in computer labs as a way to produce output.

imagery: None

graphical: The layout struggles to keep distinctions among strains of text clear, but the overall greyness of the pages, and density of text on them, unbroken and unrelieved, makes the format resistant to reading.

development: Just the story.

Critical Discussion

This book isn't so much an artist's book as it is a transcription from a draft manuscript to a printed, reproducable manuscript form. The work is a mockup for what might have been a printed book, rather than a real edition. The texts are interesting, but too densely packed to unpack, as often happens with my work.



Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


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

birth: 1952-05-30

Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: Druckwerk

place: Oakland, California

publication: 1984-00-00

edition size: 10


horizontal: 8.5 inches closed

vertical: 5.5 inches closed

depth: .5 inches closed

Production Information

production means:
xerographic (local)

binding: velobind (local)

bookBlock: paper

ink (local)


format: codex (AAT)

cover: The cover is made from plain pink paper. On the paper, the title, Spectacle, has been hand written in dark gray scribbly letters, and is surrounded by a confetti of small dots and dashes in the same hand.

color: no


pagination: unpaginated 172 pages

numbered?: numbered

signed?: signed