Books from Nancy Bell Scott (USA) and Marie Wintzer (Japan)

A book: An object filled with pages bound by a cover. Thats what the dictionary says anyway.  Could that be a suitable description? No, I'm certain its too finite.  Books  are living spaces to become immersed in, multifaceted creatures, each holding within a complex set of codes, structures and textual and/or visual experiences.  To me they are perfect art vehicles – no matter their form, medium, function or visual presence. “Boekies” is a term we have come to know well at IUOMA – it is an Afrikaans word meaning “little books”. Here are two boekie beauties, each raising interesting questions about the nature and function of the book form. Books are as much about their own making as their conceiving. In this instance a small conceptual space where their interior - aside from offering a point of demarcation, acts too as an infinitely expandable and resonating space.

Nancy’s palm-size boekie has a see-through cover and is bound with a very simple single stitch.   It is her contribution to The World is a Town project.  It very clearly illustrates the original concept of a hyper-palimpsest – a page in this instance which has been written and re-written, where faint echo’s of what has gone before still glimpse through the newest text. 

Nancy wrote: "My World is old and kind of fragile. But on the thickish side. Maybe that’s the real world.  

I was happy with World...Town though realize it is plainer in a way than the work usually is. And you may have noticed that each page is not completely different, because I wanted it to be circular, if you know what I mean". Nancy, for certain I know what you mean :-).

Another interesting notion – what if the title is not part of the book but a separate entity, just an accompanying note? Nancy’s boekie is filled with windows on the world – her world or this world, or the old world, or the unseen world? Nancy's use of a codex format in this instance I think is auratic rather than sequential or linear - the use of a familiar structure to house elusive ideas.

The World Town is a long story to Nancy, one which no-one will hear. We know that for sure don’t we. The repetitive nature of tragic human history breathes through her pages.  

 This was an additional piece in Nancy’s envelope – a transparent delight. Her note said “The other kind of minimalist? – (o for sure not!!!) the paper is tissue which I stained for you because you’re a peach!” That HAS to be one of my most favorite endearments – thank you NBF. 

During the course of our discussions I suggested to Marie that she should read The Well of Lost Plots, the third book in the adventures of literary detective Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde.  For sure it’s a complex novel -  filled with characters waiting to be written, parts waiting to be included in a plot, pale  phrases -  all the while Thursday Next bides her time, taking a much needed vacation inside Caversham Heights.  Yes, THAT Caversham Heights. AND there is a police force of fiction in this book, called JurisFiction.

Nope, it did not appeal to Marie. So it became an artwork.

“I wanted to make a “disembodied” book, with chapters independent from each other , but still part of the same book, hence the loose binding.  The text is a kind of mockery of the praite one finds about certain books.  They are all cut out from “The Well of Lost Plots”!!! Some of them I find hilarious and ridiculous." 

A disembodied book?  The codex as convenience? I don't think so.  This is a carefully planned work.  A conceptual transformation of an extant volume.  A plot REALLY lost! Loose pages, half folios, stains and removed text.  A story cut up, a plot in purposeful disarray, a narrative spliced.

This is a  physically complex form, borrowing from many sources - different languages, differing writing systems, alternate sources - I see even the shirt made it :-) - an interplay of materials that is uniquely Marie.


Many thanks you two - I think one of these days I am going to start documenting a boekie collection. That for sure should be a world first?  People think the net will take over the need for books? NEVER EVER in my home :-) XXX

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Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on November 29, 2011 at 6:38pm

Hmmm, yes, well, she was a bit Plot-on-ic, too.

There is a new Library in Alexandria. They might not accept little boekies, but what if we start scrolls?

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Comment by cheryl penn on November 29, 2011 at 6:04pm

I think I want to play Hypatia for a bit :-) X

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2011 at 5:31pm

Alexandria would be a good idea. 

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2011 at 3:10pm

Glimmer dimmer is going to release an official statement - in Afrikanns - denouncing the dedication of your international library to the memory of Richard Brautigan. The library is an excellent idea but not your choice of heroes.

Comment by Marie Wintzer on November 29, 2011 at 1:29pm

made with bacon?? okkkaaaayyy. That must be a good one.



Comment by cheryl penn on November 29, 2011 at 8:14am

Hey you lot :-) - good morning. 

An interesting message from RcBz

I see from your blog ( )that you are contemplating a library for boekies. That would be nice to visit.
Have you ever heard of the novel The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966, by Richard Brautigan?
The protagonist maintains a library for Unfinished Novels. I remember being quite delighted by the idea (I believe the cover of one book in the library was made with bacon). You might like it as well, as you will be starting down a parallel path.
I am thinking of re-opeing the Library at Alexandria - except it here, in my study - unless it gets too big of course which would just be WONDERFUL because then I can call for the funding of a REAL library - for boekies. I have quite a few - and now I'm looking for more! And more and more...
Dvs - great comment - o - except the Afrikaans part - even here the language is dying :-( - English is taking over the world... and its not even ENGLISH - but thats a discussion for another day (one we've had often!) - I seem to be waffling here... MY POINT!
Books - REAL books with stitch binding and hard leather covers certainly seem to be increasingly difficult to come by. The misnomer - the glue binding method they use today - the one that suffers from spine breakage when the book gets brittle and you try open the middle - its called perfect binding - wwwhhhaaaattttt????

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2011 at 3:47am

But only one way to bleed a weasel. 

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2011 at 3:44am

There's more than one way to skin a mink, Jethro. So shut your trap

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2011 at 3:32am

cb, do not put too much irony in your socks.


dimmer glimmer giving another speech. i'm chair of the bored

Comment by De Villo Sloan on November 29, 2011 at 3:20am

I had to come back out of guilt. I feel I was far too flippant in my comments because these books are REALLY beautiful and true achievements. Congrats CB and Nancy. (Cheryl, how do I get a camera like yours?)


So "Boekie" is Afrikaans? Back in the the day I used to tell people: "Someday we'll all be speaking Afrikaans." Here we are.


I know Cheryl is always thinking about the future of the book, and Katerina made an interesting comment. I'll add a little story to support the discussion:


For the last few months I've been collecting collage material in this junk mall/flea market that's spread through this giant, abandoned factory (because some days the US seems like one vast abandoned factory as earlier "settlers" remarked it was one vast cemetery as they disinterred Native American graves to build factories, etc.).


Anyway, this junk mall place is sorta like Detroit. Sorta like "Blade Runner" with rain water leaking through the roof, an industrial ruin. Mountains of every kind of book you can imagine for quarters (USD = .25). And clearly demarcating several generations of preference.


Well, I went a few days ago and most of the books are gone. Sent to be pulped someone said. Maybe just to the landfill as, due to The Great Recession, people are in a hurry to sell whatever "stuff" they have. You have to make room for what is more likely to turn a profit, if that concept is even possible in this context.


Right now, we are in a strange way benefiting from the transition to the postliterate with this flood of cheap, printed material - some of it very high quality. But in the rush to recycle (a good thing) and to remove the clutter, how long can we depend on finding these artifacts readily available? A time might come when all solid object books are "rare," not just the art objects Kat mentioned. Now I feel a little bit like hoarding. Dw counts on me to find TOXIS Adventure comix - another sign of the times.


Great blog, CP-SA



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