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Production Narrative

by J. Drucker

Difficult to construct entirely from observation, but many of the photographs appeare to have been taken from television screen images, some have been enlarged or distorted to bring out the raster lines, and other images are appropriated from what seem like archival stock of commercials, or newsroom footage, or other sources. The text was typeset and probably laid out using wax backing and grids, fairly standard for the 1980s prepress approach, with other odds and ends of graphic elements stripped into the negative. All printed offset and commercially bound.

Critical Analysis

by J. Drucker

Design Features

typographic: Times new roman and a sans serif gothic news font set in bold are used throughout, with an occasional decorative letter added from another font for effect, or, occasional paragraphs in bold italic. The typography is strong and clean, and also has an affected neutrality that works for the combination of appropriated/documentary approach with a free-form theory-speak that is not overly constrained by academic protocols.

imagery: Appropriated and found images of television, television culture, studio shots, and screen shots, some of which have been manipulated to bring out qualities of the image or the production.

graphical: The layout is well organized, not elegant but not amateurish, and makes the text legible. Shifts of tone are clearly marked.

openings: Gutters are well used to break the spreads, and to some extent a regular pattern of text/image alternation structures the book, but with enough variation to create and sustain interest.

turnings: The turnings gain most of their impact from variations on the right hand page where the scale and type of images changes frequently.

development: A critical essay, free-form but smart, is followed by a screenplay. The images go from early writing technology to television and satellite communications. The historical timeline is apparent.

sequence: None are particularly notable, though the spread to spread openings are all well organized for contrast and variation.

textual: The book is about media, its history, development, and impact.

structure:

conceptual:

intratextual:

scultpural features:

temporal features:

other features: Spot color, produced through cut ruby-lith and screens, actually makes this book look a little older than it is. Though carefully done, the effect has a bit of the hand-colored postcard effect to it. This was an affordable way to introduce color into printing in the 1980s.

Critical Discussion

The book has an authenticity and curious originality to it as a critical work. Clearly an artist's critical text, though highly informed, it is also a creative work in its own right and thus a fine example of an artist's book. Before being printed and produced, this was an essay text and some collages and images. But the organization of the whole creates an intertextual play among the sequenced images, color spots, and thematics so that it becomes more than an illustrated essay. As a work it has the strength of simplicity to it, the production means don't outstrip the conceptual ones, and they reinforce each other with a workmanlike combination of just-enough-craft and good humored play. The result is engaging, diverting, informative, and its didacticism is blunted by the sense of play. The black book cloth does a good job of framing the pages during reading or viewing, and that frame also creates and echo of the way television screens excise their information from surrounding space. The horizontal format works well to reinforce the screenspace feel without over-determining the analogy.

Detailed Analysis

General Comments

[]

Television

title note: []

Agents

Miles DeCoster

type: initiating

role:
artist
author
printer

dates:
birth: 19??-00-00

note: []


Post Newsweek Stations

type: initiating

role:
publisher


Miles DeCoster

type: initiating

role:
artist
author
printer

dates:
birth: 19??-00-00

note: []


Post Newsweek Stations

type: initiating

role:
publisher


Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: Post Newsweek Stations

place: Chicago

dates:
publication: 1985-00-00

edition size: 2500

note: 1600 are signed and numbered of the 2500 [J. Drucker]

Measurements

horizontal: 8 3/4 inches closed

vertical: 6 1/2 inches closed

Production Information

production means:
offset (local)

binding: case binding (AAT)

substrate:
bookBlock: paper Mohawk superfine

media:
ink (local)

other materials:

Appearance

general description: An inconspicuous looking book, thanks to the black cloth cover, even though the spine is stamped in blue metallic letters.

format: codex (AAT)

cover: Black book cloth over boards and blue metallic stamped spine.

color: yes

devices:

enclosures:
item:

Content

pagination: unpaginated

numbered?: numbered

signed?: unsigned

Colophon

This project was supported by a Post Newsweek Stations Fellowship. Thanks to Joel Chaseman, President of Post Newsweek Stations, to Jock Reynolds, Alan Stone, DonRussell, and Helen Brunner of the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington, D.C., to everyone at WINT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida and WDIV-TV in Detroit, Michigan, particularly to Gus Bailey, Ann Pace, Mark Davis, Amy McCombs, and Ann Wise, and to Clifrton Meador and Patrick Dowdey at Nexus Press in Atlanta. Historical photographs provided by WIXT and WDIV. Additional photography by Miles DeCoster and Paul Comstock. Computer graphics by Mile DeCoster. Tyepst at Concert Typography, Chicago. Printed on 80lb Mohawk Superfine in an edition of 2500 of which 1600 are signed and numbered.

Exhibition Information

exhibition history:

reception history:

General Comments

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