All of the books published by Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles' imprint The Something Else Press. More info here.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Rachel Simkover [ed]
An Anthology of Concrete Poetry (in braille)
Berlin, Germany: Motto Books, 2013
[unpaginated], 26.5 x 26 cm., paperback, spiral-bound
Edition size unknown
Available here, for €30.00.
Rachel Simkover’s An Anthology of Concrete Poetry (in braille) is a brilliant conceptual translation of Emmett William’s indispensible – and rare – 1967 anthology of the same name. Simkover’s translation of the classic poems from Williams’ collection extends the logic of concrete poetry – the treating of the written particles of language as physical, manipulate-able objects – in a brilliant, tactile edition. Every page renders the already emotionally cool and distant poems in to smooth fields of snow-white pages punctuated by linguistic burrs for your fingertips. The light casts miniscule shadows from these Lilliputian towers, each beautifully articulating the rubble of a once-magnificent experiment in literary universality. Beautiful, vital, and majestic.
And, as an added bonus, Emmett Williams’ An Anthology of Concrete Poetry has recently been republished in a facsimile edition by primary information.
- derek beaulieu
derek beaulieu is the author of seven books of poetry (most recently Please, no more poetry: the poetry of derek beaulieu), four volumes of conceptual fiction (most recently the short fiction collection Local Colour: ghosts, variations) and over 150 chapbooks. His first volume of criticism, Seen of the Crime, was published Fall 2011 by Snare Books and is available on UBUWeb. In 2012 Bookthug published his critical edition (co-edited with Gregory Betts) of bill bissett’s seminal 1972 volume of experimental commentary RUSH: what fuckan theory and in 2013 Wilfrid Laurier University Press published Writing Surfaces: Selected Fiction of John Riddell (co-edited with Lori Emerson). beaulieu teaches Creative Writing, Theory and Contemporary Canadian Literature at the Alberta College of Art + Design.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of the death of composer, poet, publisher and Fluxus artist Dick Higgins. He died of a heart attack at age sixty, while attending an event in Quebec, and is survived by his wife, artist Alison Knowles. Their daughter Hannah Higgins is the author of Fluxus Experience.
Higgins' contribution to artists' books and multiples is immeasurable, but he wrote and edited forty seven books and founded three publishing companies: Unpublished Editions, Printed Editions and the hugely important Something Else Press.
Two brief interviews on Youtube:
On the Something Else Press:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
An Anthology of Concrete Poetry, Edited by Emmett Williams Translated into Braille
Ithaca, USA, Self-published, 2011
23 pp., 27 x 24 cm., softcover
Edition of 5
An Anthology of Concrete Poetry, published by The Something Else Press in 1967, was one of the earliest international collections of concrete poetry, and remains one of the most important. Here Rachel Simkover translates the works for the blind.
This short run edition is a prototype of sorts for a larger edition that Motto Books in Berlin is releasing later this month.
Visit the artist's website here.
Below: Sharon Harris' braille translation of bpNichol's Blues, published as part of the openpalmseries by derek beaulieu's housepress (2002). "Blues" also appeared as a piece Brailled by the Canadian National Institute For The Blind.
Monday, December 17, 2012
The McLuhan Issue (#4)
New York City, USA: Roaring Fork Press, 1967
9.5 x 12.5 x .075"
Hinged box containing 8 items.
The McLuhan Issue was designed by Quentin Fiore, who had then-recently collaborated with McLuhan on The Medium is the Massage, a book which Fiore had initiated and which went on to become McLuhan's best seller. The issue came in a box illustrated with a diagram of an electrical circuit and text taken from their collaborative work. The contents included several posters, a flexi-disc record of electronic music, an article about a nature trail for the blind and John Cage's Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse). The latter would also later be included in the SMS Portfolio (a publishing project not dissimilar to Aspen) and as a Great Bear Pamphlet, published by the Something Else Press. The advertisements (which include an early Something Else Press newsletter) were held in a magenta folder inscribed with McLuhan’s theory of effective advertising.
"Quentin Fiore tells me that Aspen Magazine is wild about putting me in one of their boxes. I am the subject of their next issue, issue number 4, the McLuhan edition. Corinne will be amused. The graduate school – I am sure – will not. This will give the Profs at Toronto University a fit. I can hear them now. Pure Commercialism! Undignified! Not professorial! Well that’s their look out.
For each issue Aspen’s editors assemble a mix of recordings, posters, essays and whatnot playing on a particular theme. “Magazine” you know is a very interesting word. It means a storehouse, a cache, typically for explosives. This issue is undoubtedly going to result in fireworks. The last one was on Warhol. This one’s on me. Haven’t seen it yet, but I will. Perhaps next Sunday."
- Marshall McLuhan, 1967
Saturday, June 2, 2012
One of the rarest and most valuable editions published by the Something Else Press is the 1968 reprint of Marcel Duchamp's Coeurs Volants (Flying Hearts). The original, Duchamp's first optical piece, was made in 1936 and was used as the cover of Cahiers d'Art, a French artistic and literary magazine that published monthly from 1926 to 1960. The heart-within-a-heart-within-a-heart motif is printed with a vibrant blue and red, slightly askew, in a way that produces the illusion that the heart is pulsating. Various other versions were created, with The Something Else Press edition being the final (Duchamp died later that year).
Initially husband and wife artists/publishers Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles simply wanted the rights to reproduce the image for the cover of the US version of Emmett Williams' epic concrete poem Sweethearts. But after an introduction to the artist came through association with either Daniel Spoerri, Richard Hamilton or John Cage (Knowles’ own accounts vary), it eventually led to the decision that the press would also create a new silkscreen version of the work.
For the optical illusion to function, the registration had to be very precise, which was difficult for Knowles, who single-handedly produced the work. There were also issues with cracked paint from over-inking. Of the 100 attempts she screenprinted, most were deemed unusable and were discarded. The exact number of copies salvaged is difficult to ascertain: Knowles is quoted as saying that 24 were suitably executed, Peter Frank (in his well-researched Something Else Press bibliography) cites 22 and the work is often listed as being an "alphabet edition", which presumably means there were 26.
Richard Hamilton was reportedly sent a copy, as thanks for the introduction, the artists’ twin daughters and Jessica and Hannah Higgins both have copies, as does gallerist Emily Harvey and publisher Wolfgang Feelisch (Vice-Versand editions). The others sold very quickly “to galleries” for $125 each. A little more than a month ago a copy was auctioned at Phillips de Pury & Co., with an estimated value of between $18,000 and $24,000. The print sold for $67, 300.
Below is a 1967 image of Knowles visiting the Tenth Street apartment of Marcel and Teeny Duchamp, to select from colours samples for the reprint. After a miscommunication, Duchamp jokingly signs one of the swatches in pencil, creating perhaps his final readymade.
Knowles recounts the story on video, here.
Coeurs Volants (Fluttering Hearts)
New York City, USA: The Something Else Press, 1968
60 x 45.1 cm
Screenprint in colors, on wove paper.
Signed and dated edition.