What Is a Book?

Sometimes I am very slow to understand. Such is the case with Visual Editions (U.K.) Composition No.1 by Marc Saporta. It is a box with loose pages. It is a book that can be read in any order. It is an enigma. It is a game. Yet it went to the bottom of my pile until I read a review in EYE #81. Then like the bolt of light from Olympus (not the Japanese company that’s going belly-up), I got it.

So you’re perhaps asking what’s the big deal. Its just a book that can be read in any configuration. What’s to get?

Well, it is actually a wonderful exercise in the essence of meaning and comprehension. So often novels, essays and short stories read as though they were indeed flung in the air and allowed to fall. This is that concept incarnate. I only wish it were printed on better paper. I like my randomness well printed.


4 thoughts on “What Is a Book?

  1. Pingback: What Is a Book? « Design Dissertation 2011/12

  2. aaron

    Milorad Pavic- 
    every book he has written has some sort of device that challanges the meaning of the content. One book corresponds to a decok of tarot cards (included), another is a dictionary, yet another is a puzzle. 
    All are worth it. 

  3. Luke Jones

    It certainly is a pity that your book wasn’t printed on better stock, I bet it’s a fascinating piece of work.
    Have you ever heard of the novel “Naked Lunch” (Wikipedia)? It’s a non-linear novel which wasn’t intended to have a specific order. One could take all the chapters out, mix them up, read it and it would make as much sense as any other order. Extremely clever but one of the strangest pieces of work ever. They made an film adaptation in 1991 and it is, hands-down, one of the most complex films I’ve ever seen. I’d recommend it.