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Posts Tagged ‘book’

SHELFLIFE #28B: CARFIRE

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

THIS VEHICLE HAS BEEN SCHEDULED FOR REMOVAL. Looking over this book for the first time in a few years just now, I’m realizing that the cover has a replica of a sticker from the NYC Department of Sanitation Derelict Vehicle Removal Program adhered to an offset-printed detail of what looks to be a fried, black, car body-panel. The sticker’s filled out in ballpoint pen to mark my book’s place in the edition. John Furgason and John Ayala signed #18/100 at 9:57 on 11/21/03 and stamped the sticker, “000018”.

As a child growing up in New York, the ubiquity of carfires around the city was magical. My great grandmother lived and died on Houston & Sullivan. I don’t think she ever really spoke English–nor did she really need to–living in a neighborhood that was still then largely Italian. We’d often drive down to her apartment to grab and shuttle her over to the rest of my Mom’s family on Staten Island. That meant barreling down the FDR Drive to East Houston from the Upper East Side. East Houston was bewitching. Hookers, addicts, explosive graffiti, squeegee-amputees with piss in windex bottles and blood & shit-stained t-shirt rags soiling car windshields worse than they’d been pre-squooodge. That stretch was Lower-Manhattan’s funhouse. More than any of those other attractions, though…the carfires always got my little boner going. TV says, “Car catches fire. Car blows up.” It kind of works that way, but not really. It’s more like, “Car catches fire. Car burns and burns. Gas tank catches. Car catches more awesome fire.” There’s this incredible sigh of auxiliary flame, but there’s no real concussive force.

Carfires…East Houston, Harlem, the South Bronx I loved being stuck in traffic in any of those neighborhoods. There was always something burning. I’d just sit there in the backseat of the car, anxiously gnawing on the plastic and foam upholstery of our car’s door–hypnotized by whatever vehicle, barrel or building happened to be blazing at the moment. All of that makes Furgason and Ayala’s book particularly attractive.

If memory serves, I was given this book in 2004. It’s a pretty exceptional conceptual info-piece. Almost entirely composed of video stills from Furgason & Ayala’s film of the same title, CARFIRE‘s an impressionistic study of dynamic, incidental sculpture in the industrial landscape. Details, portraits and under-the-hood porn of freshly-torched autos litter the first-half of the book–each image or image sequence assigned a catalog number. The second-half of the book resolves the histories of the images. A primary appendix describes each of the previously-numbered vehicles by location, make/model, color and year. A second appendix marks the locations from Appendix A’s table on aerial maps. A final appendix is reserved for incidents sniped from a police scanner and witnessed mid-flame.

carfire book cover

SHELFLIFE #22B: EXPERIMENTAL-VISUAL-CONCRETE

Friday, June 26th, 2009

A good deal of the work I produce is fundamentally about language and word-play. When I first stumble over a concept, brush my knees off and decide whether I’m gonna curb this thing and make a bracelet from its bloody teeth or take it home, clean it up and help it grow up into more than just an intellectual trip-hazard, I flip thru my bins of cultural memory. Is it something I saw somewhere and am about to re-hash? If it is, can I step it up and own it? That’s tough with book-art and text-centric conceptual art–mostly on account of a necessity to adhere to some sense of rigorous visual simplicity that subverts more elegant ideas by encoding them in the algorithm of plain sight.

That’s where freaky academic surveys like EXPERIMENTAL-VISUAL-CONCRETE: Avant-Garde Poetry Since the 1960’s come in handy. This book’s a language fan’s New Wave Hookers. It’s got it all plus a merry-go-round and a harem. I expected a mostly visual survey when I first tracked the book down. I’ll admit to a certain amount of frustration when I flipped thru it and realized how heavy it was with essays. I was thumbing past occasional reproductions of lettrism, experimental typography, poetic holography, video poetry and fluxus sound-poetry and was cognitively gut-punched by how unfamiliar I was with so much of what I was seeing. That disorientation coupled with the intense density of academic commentary led to an initial reaction of, “what is this bullshit!”

But I stepped back and thought about it. I read some of the essays and made sense of the book’s editing. I accepted the editors’ structural and evolutionary concepts–and more importantly, accepted the book as a valuable proof of how primally ideas excite consumers, harvesters and aficionados of molested text.

avant-garde poetry

SHELFLIFE #17B: TRISTES VACANCES

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Romain Slocombe is one of my favorite image makers. It’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll never fall for an artist on account of technical skill, pedigree or sundry other trite academic bullshit. I love Romain’s passion for fantasy, his rapport with his models, his oblique love of prosthesis and injury makeup and his effortless ability to wash pain and suffering with the precious pigment of humor.

Tristes Vacances is a small chap-book with some text by Francois Landon preceding a set of 15 color plates of paintings Romain made based on photographs of Japanese girls in various states of undress, bondage, bandage, battery and bliss. He gave me the book and a bunch of other work when we were cranking away on some film projects in NYC in 1996.

Romain Slocombe - Tristes Vacances

SHELFLIFE #13A: BUT THEY DON’T BLINK

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

I was just going to post the blocks I etched for the packaging and titling, but since last weekend, the project’s evolved quickly. BUT THEY DON’T BLINK is a story about walls–hand-stenciled onto wallpaper. The story is a social snapshot reduced to a set of three five-line stanzas and spread out over fifteen 18″x24″ pages. Like FORE, it’s a poem and a children’s book. I’m considering delivering the story serially as a set of three five-page books–more or less making the volumes available as I finish illustrating each stanza and doing my best to make the overall project affordable to collect.

I’ve been disappointed lately in the cost of things like t-shirts and art prints. I always thought that the point of a print was to give people something exclusive at an accessible price. I’m not sure how deeply illustrators and designers are shoving their wrists up their asses to produce their prices, but arbitrary pricing, hyphy meatheads, corrupt gallerists, ebay and agenda-driven journalists have all had a hand in contaminating access via unrealistic artificial inflation. There’s no excuse for a hand-printed poster to cost more than 25 dollars. Frankly… traditional ink screened/stenciled/stamped posters on paper shouldn’t crest 10 dollars.

So, here’s the skinny. I have enough material to make 400 15-print books and 300 un-stenciled five-sheet poster sets. This isn’t set in stone yet, but I think I can split the book edition up into 200 fifteen-print books at $120 a pop and 200 three-volume print zines at $50 per volume. The 300 poster sets would be $25 per set. Books and zines–signed and numbered. Posters–numbered. I’ve never understood how people feel justified signing things they haven’t printed themselves.

If you want to reserve a copy of anything, email me: protest {at} visitordesign {dot} com
No commitment. I’ll just let you know as soon as whatever you’re interested in is ready.

page1&2:
blink page 1

page3&4:
blink page 2

page5:
blink page 4

BUT THEY DON’T BLINK VOL.1 OF 3
pinkslip in her purse, pink panties on feet, mom sells her ass to buy babies meat
when belts tighten up and it’s hard to pay bills we sell off our children to farms in the hills
to keep ethics low and prices less high, x mart takes cashiers to the dumpsters to die
gas guzzles dollars and trucks guzzle gas, so the makers of trucks are all out on their ass
they’re drinking away the economy spook as they pass out in puddles of piss and of puke

illustrations, text and wallpaper ©2008 chris habib / visitor