7th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2015 – Consideration on ERROR

Artists Book - Error - Logo

7th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2015

Consideration on ERROR

by Joseph Johannes Visser


As ERRORs go I prefer the one’s in baseball as the dictionary gives it:
Baseball: a misplay by a fielder that allows a batter toreach base or a runner to advance.

That makes the ERROR an advantage for half of the one’s that are in the game – that’s much more fun than the errors in the simple play of ‘right or wrong’.

In our trade I’ve never really came to grips with what our dear teachers in art school told us to be ‘the aesthetics’ in book art (and beyond). Such aesthetics were always presented as ‘universal’ and ‘humanly conditioned’ – and somehow we were of the generation that held the ‘human’ in the condition high; we loved the little man that Le Corbusier made up to have ‘measure’ measured.

Probably because I come from a family that never was very conditioned to ‘humans in Western Europe’ for a lot of reasons (funny enough it was not so much their genes that did not fit, but rather the ‘position’ that at that time some genes seemed to hold over other genes in the first place that put us off) that I experienced from a very early age that Japanese people and Micronesians, just as American Indians or Mid-Africans all, and all differently, had views and a daily practice not in the least coherent with what I was told to be ‘universal’.

As a painter of oils and coming from the deeply European State Academy for the Arts in Amsterdam I was shocked to find modern North-Americans to have a totally different colour theory than our dear old Bauhaus tuition had us believe to be the one and only right one – scientific and all; way beyond the ideas the French painters might have had slightly before that.

When I started to study such matters, dear me there were quit a few things there, but I had my collisions especially within the book-trade. Young and happy I had to find that ‘golden rules’ were not at all ‘aesthetic’ from their origins, but simple practicalities ruled to be so in order to make it possible for even the most unsteady bookbinder, working with an old and decrepit machine, to come up with a reasonable ‘book-like’ result that would not economically spoil the work of the men that presided his job, or simply went before him in the production process.

In my profession as a composer ‘The World’ may agree on Bach’s ‘Wohltemperierte Klavier’, but I’m not too sure about the singing groups in Ethiopia, or the Papuans when making flutes; mind you I myself am a European traditionalist pure sang.

This seems to go for all the aspects of ‘universal aesthetics’; and these are always far away from this vague thing called ‘expression’ – yes ‘vague’ because it would not take you to much travelling to experience people to show very different expressions to your own ‘homegrown’ ones: be it only Bulgarians nodding ‘No’ when saying ‘Yes’ (although even this is wearing off these days; and neither the fact nor that development is an old joke).

It should make you think, was my conclusion; I’m not sure I want to go beyond that conclusion.


© Joseph Johannes Visser, 2013
© Artist’s Book Creators 2015