Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Interesting book with interesting artists

A few months ago I saw this book at the Witte de With / Tent bookshop in Rotterdam. It is excellent and I've read it twice already. I will read it more.
I have discovered many interesting artists through this book. I especially liked these.

Agnes Martin, www.widewalls.ch

Albert York, www.matthewmarks.com

Charlotte Posenenske, www.art-agenda.com

Christopher D’Arcangelo, makcenter.org

Laurie Parsons, mapmagazine.co.uk

Cady Noland, www.art-agenda.com


Trisha Donnelly, atpdiary.com

David Hammons, news.artnet.com

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Planning a self-published book - 4


Choosing the keywords (chapter headers)

I've changed my mind. Each volume will have unique chapters. This means that I will need approximately 42*3 = 126 keywords.

These keywords should be charged with multiple layers of meaning. They should suggest stories and mysteries. They should stimulate research. Some archetypes, but not too pretentious. Collecting them is harder than I thought. Especially if you want a wide, random spread.

See also: Latour litanies.

A warning to self

By compiling the list of keywords myself, I run the risk of revealing my deepest unconscious urges. Like Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Chapter 55 of Cat's Cradle: Never Index Your Own Book.
I got an unexpectedly expert answer, as one does in life sometimes. It appeared that Claire Minton, in her time, had been a professional indexer.  I had never heard of such a profession before...  She said that indexing was a thing only the most amateurish author undertook to do for his own book. I asked her what she thought of Philip Castle's job.

"Flattering to the author, insulting to the reader," she said.  "In a hyphenated word," she said with the shrewd amiability of an expert, "_self-indulgent_.  I'm always embarrassed when I see an index an author has made of his own work.  It's a revealing thing... a shameless exhibition....

"He's obviously in love with this Mona Aamons Monzano...  He has mixed feelings about his father... He's insecure... He'll never marry her... I've said all I'm going to say," she said. ...

Sometime later, Ambassador Minton and I met in the aisle of the airplane, away from his wife, and he showed me that it was important to him that I respect what his wife could find out from indexes.

"You know why Castle will never marry the girl, even though he loves her, even though they grew up together?" he whispered... "Because he's a homosexual.  She can tell that from the index, too."
Further challenge

Is there any way I could make the book useful? A guidebook? A self-help book? Tips and tricks? A city walk, that can really be walked. Not just a conceptual object, but a real positive contribution.

Wordlist from six sources

I picked a random book that I had laying around. It was City of saints and madmen by Jeff Vandermeer. I noted a few 'meaningful' words in my notebook. The deck of Tarot cards gave some symbolic keywords. But it should not be too obvious. While reading some articles I noted a few 'meaningful' words. I selected a few words from my own blog page of Latour litanies. And I picked several keywords from the table of contents of Capital: New York, Capital of the 20th Century by Kenneth Goldsmith. And of course some chapters named in the Lost book found movie (marked by *).

Then I ran the list of 149 words through the list randomizer at RANDOM.org. This yielded the following chapter titles for volumes 1, 2 and 3. While making the volumes I will make the final selection. But I will not change the ordering.

Volume 1 - The Kindle version
salt
the periodic table*
antioxidant
bridge
cups
downtown
suburbs
colour samples
window
locks
funerals
water
path
child
oarsman
renaissance
pulley
vector
the flood*
silence
flaneur
victory*
strangers
stone lions
Japanese submarine
nature
the clock*
crowds
savage plant
magma
death
consolation
jeans
chair
architecture
atomic number*
poetic empire
earth
the monument*
the princeling
subway
eagles made from plastic
fire
epicycle
exploration
crust
conservation of matter*
strength
finger
about
simulacrum
wheel of fortune
territory
bread
mission
fear
moon

Volume 2 - The book version
lichen
inferiority complex
emperor
fungal growth
statecraft
ice
symmetries
sun
gentrification
burial at sea*
lovers
clay soil
spectacles
unrest
prison
potato soup
portals
power
insect
the archive*
mercury*
iron
dream city
echo
altars
the parade
glass
horizon
the flood*
battery*
jungle
world
panorama
poverty
tower
the grid
forgery
laughter
blood
rings
smoke
media
landslide
tattoo
merchants
reflections
nostalgia
the hourglass*
diary
crime
undertow*
heat stroke
the street
power
fool
coins
antiquity
Volume 3 - The printed internet version
air
cinder blocks
purgatory
lighthouse*
perpetual motion*
structures
mermaids
mysterious flying cast-iron wheels
art
work
forest
justice
body
skydive
army
strain*
swords
psychosis
mud
refraction
mendel's law*
psychogeography
apocalypse
commodity
advertising
noise
ghosts
towering
sawdust
star
objects of desire
smell
sex
overripe melons
dirt
necklace
the well*
registration form
uranium
light
mirage
smileys
coffin
staves
teapots
toy
the fossil*
drawings of buckets
the sick man*
alchemist*
hearts
italic number*
animal feed
underbrush
loneliness
dwarf
ejaculation inhibitor

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Planning a self published book - 3

Part 1 of this series is here.
Part 2 is here.

Book structure
I decided on the size and contents of the book. If the book is 48 pages then I have 42 pages with keywords. The structure will be:
Front cover : 1 (title page) + 1 (blank)
Content : 42 (keywords) + 1 (blank) + 1 (explanation)
Back cover : 2 (blank)
 
Book layout
For my first draft this will be the layout. It will be reviewed by an expert later.


LateX script
I've hacked the following script to make the layout. It will cause pain to real LateX experts. It will make them cringe and look away:

\documentclass[12pt,a5paper]{book}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[english]{babel}
\usepackage[a5paper, total={11cm, 17cm}]{geometry}
\usepackage{bera}
\usepackage{ragged2e}
\pagestyle{empty}
\usepackage{fix-cm}
\usepackage[absolute,overlay]{textpos}

\begin{document}

\sffamily

\newpage
\thispagestyle{empty}
\mbox{}


% the front cover
\begin{textblock*}{7cm}(2.7cm,4cm) % {block width} (coords) 
\fontsize{60}{70}\selectfont \bfseries LOST
\end{textblock*}

\begin{textblock*}{7cm}(3.4cm,6cm) % {block width} (coords) 
\fontsize{60}{60}\selectfont \bfseries BOOK
\end{textblock*}

\begin{textblock*}{7cm}(4.1cm,8cm) % {block width} (coords) 
\fontsize{60}{70}\selectfont \bfseries FOUND
\end{textblock*}

\begin{textblock*}{7cm}(3.7cm,12cm) % {block width} (coords) 
\fontsize{14}{70}\selectfont A Rotterdam reconstruction
\end{textblock*}

\begin{textblock*}{7cm}(3.7cm,13cm) % {block width} (coords) 
\fontsize{14}{70}\selectfont Volume 1 (Kindle version)
\end{textblock*}


% back side of the front cover
\null\newpage
\null\newpage


\rmfamily

\begin{flushleft}
\textbf{Keyword1} \\
\smallskip
\textit{Date1, Street1 - Something that happened in Rotterdam.} \\
\bigskip
This is the first section.
 
Lorem  ipsum  dolor  sit  amet,  consectetuer  adipiscing  
elit.   Etiam  lobortisfacilisis sem.  Nullam nec mi et 
neque pharetra sollicitudin.  Praesent imperdietmi nec ante. 
Donec ullamcorper, felis non sodales...
\end{flushleft}

\newpage

\begin{flushleft}
\textbf{Keyword2} \\
\smallskip
\textit{Date2, Street2 - Something that happened in Rotterdam.} \\
\bigskip

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.  
Etiam lobortis facilisissem.  Nullam nec mi et neque pharetra 
sollicitudin.  Praesent imperdiet mi necante...
\end{flushleft}

\begin{flushleft}
Hello, here is some text without a meaning.  This text should show what 
a printed text will look like at this place.  If you read this text, 
you will get no information.  Really?  Is there no information?  Is there 
a difference between this text and some nonsense like not at all!  A 
blind text like this gives you information about the selected font, how 
the letters are written and an impression of the look.  This text should
contain all letters of the alphabet and it should be written in of the
original language.There is no need for special content, but the length of
words should match the language.
\end{flushleft}


\newpage

\begin{flushleft}
\textbf{Keyword3} \\
\smallskip
\textit{Date3, Street3 - Something that happened in Rotterdam.} \\
\bigskip
This is the third section.
 
Lorem  ipsum  dolor  sit  amet,  consectetuer  adipiscing  
elit.   Etiam  lobortisfacilisis sem.  Nullam nec mi et 
neque pharetra sollicitudin.  Praesent imperdietmi nec ante. 
Donec ullamcorper, felis non sodales...

This pattern will be repeated for many pages.

\end{flushleft}


\null\newpage
\null\newpage


\begin{flushleft}
\textbf{Explanation} \\
\smallskip
\textit{What inspired me and what I did with it.} \\
\bigskip
This is the third section.
 
Lorem  ipsum  dolor  sit  amet,  consectetuer  adipiscing  
elit.   Etiam  lobortisfacilisis sem.  Nullam nec mi et 
neque pharetra sollicitudin.  Praesent imperdietmi nec ante. 
Donec ullamcorper, felis non sodales...
\end{flushleft}


%front side of back cover
\null\newpage
\null\newpage


%back side of back cover
\null\newpage


\end{document}

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Planning a self published book - 2

Part 1 of this series is here.

Installing TeX took some work. I run Windows:

https://miktex.org/
http://www.xm1math.net/texmaker/download.html

For debugging the installation I used:

https://latex.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28920

My installation directory for MiKTeX is: "C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Programs\MiKTeX 2.9" and I had to enter this in the Texmaker options like this:

"C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Programs\MiKTeX 2.9\miktex\bin\x64\latex.exe" -interaction=nonstopmode %.tex

Then it worked. And I was able to produce my first PDF page. More to come.



Sunday, June 2, 2019

Planning a self-published book

Content

Jem Cohen made a mysterious movie (video) about a unique handwritten book. It contained (seemingly) chaotic lists of headings, dates and places with some (unknown) internal structure and deep meaning. A street scavenger offered the book to the narrator, but he didn't buy it then. Since then the lists from the book have stayed in his head. Unpredictable events can trigger a voice in his head that recites lists and (almost) reveals the hidden logic of the city.
The book never existed. But I want to have this book so I will have to make it myself. And there is only one place I can find the contents: in my own archives. I will use three sources of material:
  •  KINDLE: the My Clippings file on my Kindle, they are ready to use,
  •  BOOKS: paragraphs from my English books that I've marked, I will scan them,
  •  INTERNET: the stacks of printed matter from the Internet, I will re-download them or scan them.
There will be three volumes called "Searching Lost Book Found" (or "Lost Book Found - A Reconstruction" ). The Kindle version, the book version and the internet version. There will be a few illustrations, taken from my scrapbooks of cuttings. I will start with the Kindle version, because that content is most readily available.

Each volume will have 12 categories (chapters). Some categories will repeat in all or some volumes. Most categories will be unique per volume.

When you open the book randomly there will be some short but interesting piece of text. Something to make you think or make you notice.
Form and graphic design

The cover and content could look like this:

Inspiration

Lost book found
a film/video by Jem Cohen (copyright 1996 Jem Alan Cohen), Poopface productions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MYh9YmVlxc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6FKgr3QTp0

… it was a composition notebook full of handwritten listings
page after page of places, objects, incidents, all having something to do with the city
but it was carefully divided into chapters of some kind ...

… but there was a side effect, that as I travel through the city,
I sometimes hear a voice making lists,
and sometimes they fall into groups, classifications, sets and subsets,
in other words, the book stayed in my head,
like parts of a song I didn't know I knew,
and parts of the book come back in flashes, bits and pieces ...

Forest, The clock, The fossil, Battery, Undertow
The flood, Mercury, Italic number, Well, The archive
The sick man, The monument, Periodic table, Mendel's law,
Lighthouse, Hourglass, The flood, Alchemist,
Victory, Conservation of matter, Atomic number,
Perpetual motion, Strain, Burial at seahttps://lux.org.uk/work/lost-book-found
https://www.moma.org/collection/works/107377
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0230468/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jem_Cohen

Capital
Renowned poet and conceptual artist Kenneth Goldsmith collects a massive assortment of quotations about New York City in the twentieth century. This kaleidoscopic montage from hundreds of sources is a literary adoration of New York as the capital of the world, and was inspired by Walter Benjamin s unfinished masterpiece, "The Arcades Project," a compendium of quotations about nineteenth-century Paris. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29146198-capital
https://spectrumculture.com/2016/03/27/capital-by-kenneth-goldsmith/

The missing pieces
An incantatory catalog of cultural artifacts either lost to time or never realized. The Missing Pieces (by Henri Lefebre) is a list not only to be read an item at a time, but, as the very cover of the book itself might imply, to be viewed as a mishmash of things forgotten, and of things we need to dutifully remember.
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/missing-pieces
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21422875-the-missing-pieces

Budget

I'll do all the design work myself.

If I spread the project out over two years, I could spend 100 euro per volume on printing.
I will hire a professional reviewer on a time-box basis. I'll see if I can get some advice, tips and tricks for 50 euro.

To add further constraints I will try to break-even somehow. That means I'll have to sell most of the books. A price of 7 euro would be ideal for impulse buying. 5 euro is probably impossible. 12 euro is still doable.

I will have to think about price elasticity. This means I'll have to think about the amount of books to produce. Would I dare to print 100?
Formats and printers

I'll try to do everything in LateX, as an exercise.
https://www.latex-project.org/get/

A5 vertical, 48 (56) pages, black and white, softcover, glue binding

https://www.studentendrukwerk.nl/ > 25 books = 58.54 euro

https://www.printenbind.nl/ > 20 = 72.10

https://www.ivadrukwerk.nl/ > 25 = 96.71

https://www.drukkerij123.nl/ > 25 = 105

https://print.24bookprint.com/ > 20 = 140.39

https://www.printerpro.nl/ > 10 books = 140.24 euro

https://www.deboekdrukker.nl/ > 100 = 318 + 9%

I should look at Rotterdam Publication Studio too:
https://www.publicationstudio.biz/studios/#rotterdam

A warning for myself
  • Der Augenblick der Erkenntnis seiner Unbegabung war ein Geistesblitz. 
  • Guter Rat für Schriftsteller: Im bestimmten Augenblick zu schreiben aufhören. Sogar, bevor man angefangen hat.
Das große STANISŁAW JERZY LEC  BUCH, Aphorismen, Epigramme, Gedichte  und Prosa 
GOLDMANN VERLAG 

Failure

The project will fail if I :
  • don't find supporters or subscribers for my project (lesser failure) 
  • get stuck with many books somehow (biggest failure)
  • don't break-even (lesser failure)
When I get stuck with books I will place them (also illegally) in bookshops and museum gift shops to confuse the buyers and sellers.

To do
  1.  Select the chapter categories
  2.  Design the covers
  3.  Make a mini trial version of the content
  4.  Rethink plan and feasibility
  5.  Make volume 1 (kindle version) in PDF format
  6.  Get a review of volume 1
  7.  Present the PDF to editors
  8.  Contact PrintRoom
  9.  GO - NOGO decision
  10.  Edition size decision
  11.  Order print run of volume 1 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The suburban sky

urban moonkitchen moonmoon mapsshadow cones
sky structuresmore sky structures
bird traces, brennschluss constellations, archaeo astronomy
webcam sun, triple sun, flaming sun, de chirico

At the moment we have a cold spell with clear skies. It's too cold to sit outside at night.
But yesterday, sometime between 23.00 and 24.00 I lay on my bed and looked at my small rectangle of sky through 10x50 binoculars.

It's bad astronomy to watch the sky through windowpanes. But I managed to recognize what I was looking at. It was the constellation of Hydra.

Being a bloody beginner I had no other choice than to scan the sky for some memorable pattern. And then I tried to find this pattern in my Stellarium app. It's very good!
This is approximately the field of view through the binoculars. Here the brightest star is tau1 Hydrae and the second brightest is tau2 Hydrae. Magnitude 4.55. Here in Rotterdam these stars are invisible without binoculars. But they were named by the ancient Greeks, Arabs and Chinese.
Again a binocular field of view with a recognizable pattern. Here the brightest star is lambda Hydrae with magnitude 3.60. A star that has used up its core hydrogen, has expanded, destroyed any surrounding planets and now has an excess of carbon and nitrogen. Again invisible with the (my) naked eye.
The only visible star is Alphard with magnitude 1.95. The traditional name Alphard is from the Arabic the solitary one, there being no other bright stars near it. It was also known as the "backbone of the Serpent" to the Arabs.

According to Stellarium I also should have seen two satellites but I didn't catch them

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Gallery Rianne Groen 2015

In 2015 I visited Gallery Rianne Groen and saw some interesting art. Often the art is complex, mysterious and unexpected. It combines everyday parts to create strange jewels. Also it is way above my financial possibilities and not my wife's taste. But I love this gallery.
Indeed, a culture is kept alive by the interaction of all its parts. Its progress is an alchemical process, in which all its varied ingredients can combine to form new jewels. (Gerald Holton, quoted in: Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality (Edward Frenkel))
The corner text by Wouter Venema is not a poem but an object, a painting, a drawing.
Wouter Venema, Two words, 2015

The combination of artworks can be puzzling and even unsettling at times:
A thing cannot be reduced to the definitions we give of it, because then the thing would change with each tiny change in its known properties. A good rule of thumb is as follows: 
unless a character gives rise to different interpretations, unless a scientific entity endures changed notions of its properties, unless a philosopher is entangled in contradictory assertions over one and the same concept, unless a new technology has unforeseen impact, unless a politician’s party is one day disappointed, unless a friend is able to generate and experience surprises, then we are not dealing with anything very real. (Graham Harman, The horror of phenomenology)
The corner of a large painting was sacrificed to be used as a postcard.
That kind of fruitful damage makes great conceptual art.
Marijn van Kreij, Untitled (BRESFSI1013, Postcard), 2014, Lower right corner used as a postcard.
Recently, Van Kreij sent a corner of his work shown in the exhibition (Untitled (BRESFSI1013, Postcard)) to Van Duijvenboden. The envelope used to send the piece is present in the drop box on the floor (the original corner is now on show at A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam).