JAB Books, 1999. Item #2991
16 1/2 x 20 in., 66 pp. (33 leaves). Silk over boards with silkscreened title, handbound with brass screwpost binding. Printed on Mohawk Superfine in duotones and colors; comes with wooden book stand of varnished red oak that serves as a base. Text by Drucker, images by Freeman.
The book was inspired by an invitation to respond to an item within the Smithsonian's Dibner Library, a special collections that focuses on the history of science and technology. According to Drucker, she and Freeman chose Nova Reperta (with engravings by Johannes Stradanus) "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" (Artists' Books Online).
Drucker and Freeman note that "rather than extend Stradanus's descriptions of technology, we chose to attempt a more poetic approach to create an imaginative response in dialogue with the original" (artist's description from prospectus). As a work that engages with technology, Drucker observes that the book itself is a hybrid between digital and offset technology in terms of its production: "all the color in the book was produced with photomechanical means, but they 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" (Artists' Books Online).
The colophon states that the work was originally conceived in 1993–1994, but not produced until 1998–1999. There are 5 unbound copies for wall display, lettered A to E. This is no. 68 from the bound edition of 75 copies, of which 50 copies were offered for sale; signed by both artists. Fine.
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