"Bioscopic Books". Artist's books as seen through the cinema eye

  • Project leader: Isolde Vanhee (LUCA Faculteit Kunsten, OE Image, OG Art, Space & Context)
  • Team members: Tine Guns (doctoranda), Inge Ketelers (LUCA Faculteit Kunsten, RU Image, RG Art & Argument), Rolf Quaghebeur (director Argos), Filiep Tacq (graphical designer), Sophie Nys (LUCA Faculteit Kunsten, artist) en Nicolas Provost (filmmaker)

The research project ‘Bioscopic Books. Artist's books as seen through the cinema eye’ focuses on artist's books from filmmakers.

Filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog and Patricio Guzmán make their films with a pen in hand. Their so-called essay films or cine-essays tighten the bonds between cinema and literature, but largely remain within the boundaries of the film medium. Other filmmakers such as Chris Marker, Michael Snow and Peter Greenaway are far more fascinated by the book as an object and make books next to their films. These artist’s books are more than preparatory studies or afterthoughts on their film practice.

The artist's book challenges filmmakers to reflect on their artistic discourse and practice, and to reinvent their idiosyncratic film style in book form. It is far from a simple translation, which raises questions about medium specificity, media dialectics and authorship. And yet there is much that connects films and artist's books. Both first arose and made furore in the Parisian fin-de-siècle; both are structured sequentially, inevitably suggesting a narrative; and both need artistic strategies to control time duration and flat white spaces.

Those who think artist's books belong to the dusty past and films to the glistening future have not been paying attention. In the past quarter of a century, cinema has been declared dead or at least sentenced to the post-cinema era, while artist's books are on an artistic role. This becomes evident when looking at the academic attention to the subject, the opening up of archives, the number of publishers who have taken an interest in the artist’s book, and – most importantly – the many artists and filmmakers who have realized one.

The research project ‘Bioscopic Books. Artist's books as seen through the cinema eye’ aims to develop a broad spectrum of activities that render the special translation from film to book (and back) visible: lectures, publications, screenings, an exhibition, and the realization of artist's books by contemporary filmmakers.

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