Book Hook: Miss Read

Two months ago I was pining for the NY Book Art Fair and wondering if I could scrape together enough money to visit NYC for the weekend. It didn’t happen, but fortunately, a book fair came to me in the form of Miss Read at KW.

Although not as fancy or extensive as the New York fair, the quality of the publishers and books was just as impressive. At KW all of the excitement was contained in one room instead of dispersed throughout the multiple floors of PS1, which made the browsing more manageable and less stressful (like Berlin itself).

I was able to attend three segments of the Miss Read event program. The first was an open mic organized by Eva Weinmayr and Andrea Francke of the Piracy Project. Although all but a handful of people were too shy or lazy to publicly share their thoughts on piracy, the Piracy Project table was one of my favorites. On view was their Piracy Collection, which included pirated publications next to the sources of inspiration for the sake of comparison. Examples include the anonymous Chinese translation of Hergé’s Tintin which was void of color, non sequential, and pocket-sized and a dialogue-less screenplay of  Shampoo (1975) which read more like poetry and less like a cheesy Hollywood movie.

Triple Canopy is a magazine dedicated to exclusively online publishing and attended the book fair to present (and promote), Invalid Format: An Anthology of Triple Canopy. As one of the Triple Canopy representatives claimed, “A book is the best way to archive the web.” They were also in conversation with Project Projects, a graphic design firm with whom they collaborated with on the design of the book. The discussion was mostly focused on how they decided to design the anthology to both stay true to the internet format but also maximize the printed potentialities. They had come to realize that some projects actually worked better in printed form, while others were virtually impossible to traslate from web to print.

I was only able to catch the first half of David Robbins' talk, Alternatives to Art: High Entertainment and Concrete Comedy. He was giving a brief history lesson about the objects made by the comedian Karl Valentin in connection with the work of Duschamp in order to justify his own work in entertainment (writing tv shows) and art.

The name of the fair, Miss Read, suggests a beauty pageant, in which the most stimulating and beautiful are awarded the title and fame. That was my original concept for this Book Hook post, but since there was at least one publication on each publisher’s table that I wished to own, I could not possibly select a winner. Instead I will share what I left with or still wish to buy (with the exceptions of the presents I bought because the lucky recipients might be reading this).

Open-Book by M. Kasper is an accordion style artist book published by Ugly Duckling Presse containing eleven five-line texts on computer-simulated marble backgrounds.

As a fan of Ed Ruscha's and book collections, I had to buy Ruscha der Fischotter aka: Printed Matter And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As After Ruscha aka: One Hundred Views Of One Hundred Views Of Mount Fuji, If Someone Says So aka: SIX HANDS AND A CHEESE SANDWICH by Michalis Pichler. This marvelous book is a catalogue of books that have been appropriated by Ruscha’s seminal artist books.

On my wish list is Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought by Nikolaus Gansterer. A beautiful and scholarly research project about the potentials in diagrams from different vantage points (art, science and theory). Good news: the artist will be visiting Berlin for a performance/book launch early next year!

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