Galerie de Difformité interfaces with contemporary publishing culture, packaging itself as a book even as it wiggles and writhes outside those bounds. The artifact troubles contemporary classifications in different ways. Apart from the content of the book, readers have reported that they’ve found the book classified differently in bookstores (not only in “Literature” and across genres, but also “Art”). The book plays with our expectations, a kind of mini-intervention in activities surrounding contemporary publishing and classification systems.
One example relates to library cataloguing. The standard in professional practice is to catalogue a book by its title page, not the front cover. I deliberately expanded the title on the title page to see what might happen. Although the publisher and distributor classify the title as Galerie de Difformité (as I always have referred to the book), the title appears in most library catalogues as follows: Gretchen E. Henderson presents Galerie de Difformité & other exhumed exhibits: a declassified catalogue. (The entry above can be found in MIT’s Library.) Below is another “Found Artifact” that circulated on a library listserv, where a cataloguer in Michigan asked peers how to classify the book (thanks to Christopher Cook for forwarding this to me):
Jumping to the University of South Dakota, here the GdD pops up in a LibGuide (Library Guide):
At the The GdD “book” grows in and out of itself in a variety of ways: materially and digitally, as gallery and library, and more. The book performs its deformity across media. Below are some artifacts for an installation/intervention of “Exhibits” on a college campus to demonstrate its (in)accessible spaces and raise awareness about related issues.
As a kind of pop-up “Exhibits,” this outgrowth of the book incorporated a local physical environment, archival research, public art, and community engagement to promote awareness and conversation around issues of (in)accessibility. (A shadow of this installation appears in fictional form in the book on pages 204-206, and instructions toward “How To Make This Book More (In)Accessible” appear on page 221.) “Accessibility” is a term used often in many disciplines–from libraries or architecture to poetics–creating an intersecting point of tension to investigate. How does this intersection influence how we read what we read? Books, bodies, environments? What happens when the things we read start to talk back (like this example from “Exhibit B”)?
More “Found Artifacts” coming! And if you find any related to the project, please pass them along. For other kinds of “Documentation,” click here.