/blankpage, the carefully nurtured collaborative book project by 17 Creative-Freelance members (plus an honorary 18th: our book-binder, Dan Wray) has produced an art object in its wonderful physical form. The book was launched at a Private View on Friday 25 June, 2004 in The China Room, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, UK, on show to the public there until 18 July. The Web version of /blankpage was launched at the same time.

(Borin Van Loon is Chair of Freelance and a contributor to the art-object and exhibition.)
Click here for the link to the creative-freelance website for a browse through the whole book.

<<I wanted to use our art-object book to explore the nature of the book (still the best form of software!), uses of language and fonts. All in a single page. The unifying Ampersand relates to a project nearly thirty years ago. The language comes from the yellow press. The noise is unbearable.>>

The above statement by Borin Van Loon headed his exhibition screen of supporting material in the /blankpage exhibition. The Ampersand-decorated page contained four smaller books with hand marbled end-papers by Victoria Hall (one-time Freelance member of Norwich); this sheet decorated Borin's studio wall for many years. The image of hands and candles revealed by the removal of the books came from another long standing studio wall poster: a still from a film by the master Czech surrealist animator and director, Jan Svankmajer.

Each of the nested books contains different comments on the nature of text, language, the possibilites of 'the book' and another, smaller book.
1. & 2.  Words taken at random from the yellow Sunday press in the UK were arbitrarily divided into 'Negative' and 'Positive' books to reflect our culture's use of language in reportage.
3. The third book contained two silicon chip noise generators from greetings cards ('Daddy Cool' and the 'Star Wars' theme) which played raucously silultaneously when the book was opened (sadly, having worked almost uncontrollably when the page was made and shown around, this noisome book ceased to function while it was away at the binders).
4. The last book (shown opened: above left) was the last thing to be completed in the whole exhibition and contains yet another tiny book with the contents of the whole of /blankpage on its pages.

Some of the supporting material displayed at /blankpage.
Below left: Ampersand artwork, large-scale spray painting and 3-D model made as part of a project in 1978.
Below right: the original rough for my thick page and four nested books.

Musings on the nature of the book:
Below left: lifted from Marshall McLuhan; below right: Self-promo sticker (black on gold) from 1979 ...

... which led to ...

Tortured Book Sculptures prepared to support the /blankpage exhibition

Stabbed book - Borin Van Loon
Stabbed book. A dagger through the heart of a blood-stained book showing a woman from the 1930s filing her nails and a cut-away illustration of an abdomen.
This image has since turned up to illustrate Melissa's blog (12 March 2010) on 'Eleventh Stack' by the library workers of the Carnegie Library of Pittburgh.

Burnt book. A biography of Rommel displaying Nazi insignia on the cover
was cut with a saw and carved with a knife then stained and painted to resemble charred paper.

Stretched book. Made in a similar style to my little nested books in /blankpage,
this elongated book entitled 'On The Rack' hung from the upper, old-fashioned bulldog clip.

 /blankpage was presented by Freelance to Suffolk Record Office in Gatacre Road, Ipswich on Friday March 4th, 2005. This unique book, beautifully bound, contains pages of wax, glass and knitting. Paintings and digital art sit alongside illustrations, photography, collage and miniature books. A CD-ROM of images, plus the history of the project and interactive Visitors' Book from the exhibition are now included with /blankpage in a presentation case for the permanent collection at Suffolk Record Office and will be available for public inspection.

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