Edmond Chibeau looks at performance and theatre from the avant-garde communication perspective

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Location: Mansfield, Connecticut, United States

Monday, September 16, 2013

Alison Knowles: The Big Book

Alison Knowles:The Big Book, 2013  Passenger Books. Berlin, Montreal 48 pp, 259 x 204 mms, hardcover.9 full-and double pg. color, and 24 full-and double pg. b/w illustrations.  Sponsored by Stiftung Kunstfonds with VG Build-Kunst. 

The body of the book is manifest.  The incontrovertible is-ness of a page that is 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide imposes its own reality on the mind of the beholder. This book does not go away when you close the cover.  This book does not go away when you close your eyes.  

This book remains when you climb through the window on one page to the inside of the next page.  

This book cannot be digitized. Moby Dick on a nook digital reader is MobyDick; “THE BIG BOOK” on a nook is a pale approximation, not even an avatar, but an image.  To appreciate this book one must climb through it.  Heavy reading. The Big Book, published by Passenger Books is a more reasonable size.

 Is the “THE BIG BOOK” the book, and the book, about “THE BIG BOOK,” which is called The Big Book the book of the book?Is the book about “THE BIG BOOK” a book, and the “THE BIG BOOK” the book itself? 

Is the original of the “THE BIG BOOK” (4 feet wide by 8 feet tall) the book qua book with the book called The Big Book (8 inches by 10inches) being the book of the book? And/Or is The Big Book (Passenger Press 2013) the book, while the “THE BIG BOOK” remains the original book, which is not a book of a book, but is indeed the book (hoc est enim corpus libri). 

Who is speaking in the George Quasha script in the The Big Book? The script is titled,   The Book of Bean is its reading
A video by Edmond Chibeau (partial Transcription), 11 min 47 sec”.

Is it Quasha qua Knowles, or Quasha qua Chibeau, or Quasha qua Quasha.  Perhaps the qua should fall to Herman Melville, Jessica Higgins, or Hannah Higgins.

On page 30 Dick Higgins says, 
“The Big Book is not in fact anything but an accumulation of ideas about books.  And, therefore, its sculptural identity is not ultimately the most important.  Coincidentally one good thing Alison has suggested at one time was to make The Big Big Book and regard The Big Book as only the study for The Big Big Book.  The Big Big Book would be 80 feet tall, which is ultimately ten times as large in a conceivable way.”

Alison Knowles is the bookwright and author; the reader’s body is the interpreter.  The “THE BIG BOOK” is the script that we enact by walking through the pages.The Big Book published by Passenger Books is an extraordinary document of a work of conceptual art, a performance script, and a moment in Fluxus history.

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