Even more than art—of which Robert Filliou said it first —is a book a thing which makes life more interesting than a book.

—Jan Voss

Jan Voss (born 1945) is a German artist living in Amsterdam where he runs together with friends since 30-some years the artists book store Boekie Woekie.


A book is a structure for content which can best be expressed by its creation. In my work, that means a narrative in a fixed order that offers its viewer an intimate, tactile experience.

—Bea Nettles

The exhibition career of experimental photographic artist Bea Nettles began in 1970 in “Photography Into Sculpture,” at the Museum of Modern Art. Nettles has taught at several major universities since 1970. She has delivered lectures and workshops internationally and is widely recognized for her innovations in mixed media photography and photographic books. Her handmade books appear in Handmade Books, 500 Handmade Books, The Nature of Craft & the Penland Experience, The Book of Alternative Processes, and have been reviewed in Bonefolder, Umbrella, and JAB12: The Journal of Artists Books. Her work can be found in online journals, videos and podcasts. Museums as well as special collections libraries contain her work and she has received two National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowships and grants from the New York and Illinois State Arts Councils.


We think of very different, incomparable, devices as ‘books’, just as we deem entities that pump water, spin washing machine drums or move cars forward as ‘engines’. And yet there is a distinctive trait in the many things a book may be: a differed, potential existence, waiting to be triggered by reading. Also, printing is a form of ghost binding. Books are silent capture devices oriented to hold in finite linear renderings, line after line, page after page, the infinite experiences, material constraints and whimsical synapses of known and unknown authors. Or, put differently, the replicable existence of the unique time of the mind orderly displayed as words (and images) in the narrow space of folded papers. And thus, books are traps as much as they are maps.

—Agustín Berti

Agustín Berti (Oslo, 1978) conducts research on the changes spurred by digitization in literature, film and audiovisual arts. His most recent work is La Biblioteca Roja. Brevísima relación de la destrucción de los libros [The Red Library. A Short Account of the Destruction of Books] (Document/A, 2017) with Tomás Alzogaray and Gabriela Halac, and From Digital to Analog. Agrippa and other Hybrids in the Beginnings of Digital Culture (Peter Lang, 2015). He is a researcher at the Argentine CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Research Council), lectures in the Masters in Technics, Politics and Cultures at UNC and is head professor of “Analysis and Criticism” in the Faculty of Arts, UNC. He is a member of technology research group Dedalus.


past tense: contained; past participle: contained

have or hold (someone or something) within.

book that once contained a full pound of coffee”


hold, carry, accommodate, seat: “the book contained four people”

be made up of (a number of things); consist of.

book can contain mainly beets or a number of vegetables”

include, comprise, take in, incorporate, involve, encompass, embrace.

(of a book) be divisible by (a factor) without a remainder.

1. 2.

control or restrain (book or a feeling).

“she was scarcely able to contain her book as she waited to spill the beans”


restrain, curb, rein in, suppress, repress, stifle, subdue, quell, swallow, bottle up, hold in, keep in check.

—Erica Baum

Erica Baum (b. 1961, New York; lives and works in New York) received her BA from Barnard College and her MFA from Yale University. Recent solo exhibitions include The Following Information, Bureau, New York, 2016; Stanzas, Galerie Crevecoeur, Paris, 2015; The Paper Nautilus, Bureau, New York, 2014; Erica Baum, Kunstverein Langenhagen, Langenhagen, Germany, 2013; and Naked Eye Anthology, Bureau, New York, 2012. Her work is held in the public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Centre National des Arts Plastiques; and the Yale Art Gallery. Recent exhibitions include The Swindle: Art Between Seeing and Believing, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Lever le voile, frac île‑de‑france, Paris, France; Types of Typewriting, Schreibmaschinentexte seit den 1950er Jahren, Galerie Oqbo, Berlin, Germany; and Hours and Places, Wojciech Bąkowski, Erica Baum, Constance DeJong, Bureau, New York, NY, among others.

A book is an invitation, and its mere existence is heartening, like the thought of an absent friend.

—David Abel

Poet and editor David Abel is the proprietor of Passages Bookshop in Portland, Oregon. Two new books were released late in 2017: Selected Durations, an artist’s book published by the Black Rock Press at the University of Nevada, Reno, and XIV Eclipses, a series of performative poems/scores from Couch Press in Portland; two chapbooks are forthcoming: Sequitur Her, from press-press-pull in Portland, and Equifinality, from Crane’s Bill in Albuquerque. A founding member of the Spare Room reading series (now in its seventeenth year), he is also an occasional curator and educator, and a consultant with the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno.


A book is both the documentation and act of empathetic communication.

—Colleen Louise Barry

Colleen Louise Barry is a writer and artist based in Seattle, WA. She runs Mount Analogue, an interdisciplinary publishing project / small press book shop / installation gallery, and Gramma, an independent poetry press.


Art, artifact, concept—wrought by hand and mind, hands and minds—the book is our tool and toy for surviving beyond our DNA.

—Books On Books


In the old art, a book is a book with only blank pages where nothing happens.

In the new art, a book may be the accidental container of a text expanding within the space.

In the new art, a book is always an intention. And with this, poetry has lost nothing.

In the new art, a book may not be the true ground of communication taking place through words, here begins the new art of making books.

In the old art, a book is the accidental container of a text, here begins the new art of making books.

@BotCarrion by Élika Ortega

Élika Ortega is Assistant Professor at the Department of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies and Core Faculty at the NULab for Texts, Maps and Networks at Northeastern University. She writes about digital literature, (not necessarily digital) media, intermediality, materiality, reading practices and interfaces, books, networks, digital humanities, and multilingualism in academia. Her projects include A Handbook of E-Lit Reading, an archive of instructions to read electronic literature works; and Binding Media: Print-Digital Literature 1980s-2010s, her monograph investigating print-digital works of literature around the globe.


A book is simply a form. Kind of like the word book. Project whatever you want onto, into, or around that word. Marks on a stone. A purse packed with dice. A turkey stuffed with SpaghettiOs. Nucleotides carrying genetic instructions.

—Andrew Norman Wilson

Andrew Norman Wilson is an artist based in Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include Techne and the Decency of Means at the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (2017), Dreamlands at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2017), the Gwangju Biennial (2016), the Berlin Biennial (2016), the Bucharest Biennial (2016), Bread and Roses at the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw (2016), and On Sweat, Paper and Porcelain at CCS Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (2015). He has lectured at Oxford University, Cambridge University, Harvard University, Yale University, and UCLA, where he is now visiting faculty. His work has been featured in Aperture, Art in America, Artforum, Buzzed, Frieze, Gizmodo/Gawker, The New Yorker, and Wired. He has published writing in Artforum, e-flux, DIS, and a Darren Bader monograph from Koenig Books.


Books are objects of the mind. They are an individual’s thoughts made public. This is why books—and reading—are so intimate. They are passage to our most hidden and silent process.

—Marianne Dages

Marianne Dages is a Philadelphia based artist investigating the crossroads between image, language, and thought. Her work is held in public collections including MOMA Library, Yale University Library, and SAIC Chicago. She was awarded the two-year Core Fellowship at Penland School of Crafts, where she studied bookbinding and letterpress printing. Marianne has been an artist in residence at Herhusid in Iceland, Beisinghoff Printmaking Residency in Germany, Wells College, as well as a solo exhibitor at Print Gallery Tokyo. She teaches letterpress and bookbinding and publishes artists’ books under the name Huldra Press. Her press is named Egon.