Teaching Image-Text, Hybrid Forms, Visual/Graphic Narratives?

Affinities, Women Artists & Hybrid Forms

March 22nd, 2019

 

(Image above from “It Is Almost That” by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, reproduced in It Is Almost That: A Collection of Image+Text Work by Women Artists & Writers. Courtesy of the Berkeley Art Museum.)

 

Siglio publishes uncommon books that defy categories and live in the rich and varied space between art and literature. It is a fiercely independent press driven by its feminist ethos and its commitment to writers and artists who combine word and image in provocative and inventive ways. These are books that open conversations and expand the possibilities of how students understand what image+text hybridity is and what it can do.

Siglio titles have been taught at the undergraduate and graduate level; in traditional as well as experimental courses in poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, visual narrative, image and text, comics and the graphic novel; as well as in wide variety of subject-oriented classes (see some of the categories below).

Exploiting a range of visual media—drawing, collage, photography, video, etc.—Siglio authors defy categories, redefine how to enter the space of the page and the book, interrupt and subvert literal relationships between image and text, and invite readers to see the world anew. Particularly for students, Siglio books are a compelling and direct engagement with these visionary, ground-breaking artist-writers.

Many of the books include incisive, beautifully written essays by an extraordinary range of writers (such as Trinie Dalton, Kevin Killian, Ann Lauterbach, Ron Padgett, Lawrence Rinder, Eliot Weinberger) that are meant neither to explicate nor solidify a single interpretation; rather these accompanying writings (and often interviews with the artist-writers) intend to deepen context, signpost possibility, and lay the groundwork for multiple interpretations into complex, layered works.

We offer a free desk copy of in print (non-digital) books for courses with an enrollment of 12 students or more. Examination copies can be purchased from our distributor at a 40% discount. Write directly to the publisher Lisa Pearson (publisher -at- sigliopress -dot- com) to request a desk copy or the discount code for an examination copy.

If you’ve taught Siglio titles in your courses, we’d love to hear from you (same address as above). We also hope to create an exchange of ideas about how to teach image+text works, hybrid forms, visual narratives, intermedia, etc. by posting syllabae, links to shared resources, and other helpful information here. We very much look forward to hearing from you and to your contributions for sharing here.

 

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Our most frequently course-adopted titles are two titles by Sophie CalleThe Address Book and Suite Vénitienne. Both are not only artist books, but concisely written, multi-layered investigations that raise provocative questions and stimulate much discussion in visual arts and literature classes. Karen Green‘s Bough Down has also been widely adopted in literature courses, ranging from poetry to memoir to visual narratives to courses focused on grief and loss. Her second book, Frail Sister, just out in October 2019, has been already been adopted in a number of creative writing courses focused on image+text, hybrid narratives, and works by women. Another fall 2019 title—Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press: Selected Writings by Dick Higgins—is a perfect title for courses that delve into in Fluxus, artist writings, intermedia, independent publishing, and experimental poetry. Higgins’s erudite, but also compelling, candid and often personal writings on these subjects will be a revelation to students.

It Is Almost That: A Collection of Image+Text Work by Women Artists and Writers is the obvious choice to serve as a backbone for any course on image+text or hybrid forms. There is no other book that collects such an extraordinary range of work and presents those works in full or as substantial excerpts so that readers/students can delve in rather than simply read about them. As Eileen Myles wrote (in her review at The Poetry Foundation): “Because the frame is image+text, we’re reminded that all of us generally do more. Female artists don’t just stay in their disciplines; we experience, we forage, we play. Intuitively and practically speaking, It Is Almost That is, in effect, a handbook. It, by presenting female art history, shows us how to be an artist.”

You can peruse the entire Siglio catalog (up-to-date through Fall 2019) as all of our titles are some species of the hybrid or the intermedial in their use of image and text. We’ve also made a list below suggesting (in-print only) titles according to some primary categories. Since all Siglio titles (by nature) are uncategorizable, they all fall into multiple categories. Please forgive the repetitions, and note that It Is Almost That: A Collection of Image+Text Work by Women Artists & Writers is not included in the list because it would go into every single category!

There are also a number books that are in categories of their own, such as Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas by Denis Wood (Maps/Radical Cartography and Eco-Poetics), or Bough Down by Karen Green (Grief/Loss)—some might include her newest book Frail Sister in that category as well—or Not Nothing: Selected Writings by Ray Johnson, 1954-1993 (Mail Art), or Square Octagon Circle by Ellie Ga (Archaeology and Architecture), or Eternal Friendship by Anouck Durand (WWII / Cold War History), just as examples.

 

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Archives/Acts of Collecting (Actual and Fictional)

Joe Brainard: The Nancy Book
Sophie Calle: The Address Book
Sophie Calle: Suite Vénitienne
Anouck Durand: Eternal Friendship
Ellie Ga: Square Octagon Circle
Karen Green: Frail Sister
Franck André Jamme: Tantra Song (Tantric Painting from Rajashtan)
Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica
Ray Johnson: The Paper Snake
Richard Kraft: Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera
Robert Seydel: A Picture Is Always a Book (Further Writings from Book of Ruth)
Vincent Sardon: The Stampographer
Nancy Spero: Torture of Women
Denis Wood: Everything Sings (Maps for a Narrative Atlas)
Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen

 

Artist’s Books (published as an artist’s book, or includes previously published artist’s books in full)

Sophie Calle: The Address Book
Ellie Ga: Square Octagon Circle
Karen Green: Frail Sister
Dick Higgins: Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press (Selected Writings) (a large section of the book is devoted to Something Else Press which published many important artist’s books)
Hinge Pictures: Eight Women Occupy the Third Dimension
Dorothy Iannone: You Who Read Me Must Now Forever Be My Friends
Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica
Ray Johnson: The Paper Snake
Richard Kraft: Here Comes Kitty (A Comic Opera)
Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen

 

Artist’s Writings + “Autobiography & Memoir”

John Cage: Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
Ellie Ga: Square Octagon Circle
Karen Green: Bough Down
Dick Higgins: Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press (Selected Writings)
Dorothy Iannone: You Who Read Me Must Now Forever Be My Friends
Ray Johnson: Not Nothing (Selected Writings, 1954-1994)
Ray Johnson: The Paper Snake
Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen

 

Collage

Joe Brainard: The Nancy Book
Karen Green: Bough Down
Karen Green: Frail Sister
Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica
Richard Kraft: Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera
Robert Seydel: A Picture Is Always a Book (Further Writings from Book of Ruth)
Keith Waldrop: Several Gravities
Nancy Spero: Torture of Women

 

Comics (appropriated/altered)

Joe Brainard: The Nancy Book
Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica
Richard Kraft: Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera

 

Fictional Constructs

Anouck Durand: Eternal Friendship (based on a true story using actual archives, but invented first person narration)
Karen Green: Frail Sister
Robert Seydel: A Picture Is Always a Book (Further Writings from Book of Ruth)
Robert Seydel: Songs of S.

 

Fluxus, New York School, and other avant-garde movements of the 50s/60s/70s

Joe Brainard: The Nancy Book
John Cage: Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
Dick Higgins: Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press (Selected Writings)
Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica
Ray Johnson: The Paper Snake
Ray Johnson: Not Nothing (Selected Writings, 1954-1994)

 

Graphic/Visual Narrative (Fiction + Non-Fiction)

Sophie Calle: The Address Book
Sophie Calle: Suite Vénitienne
Anouck Durand: Eternal Friendship
Karen Green: Bough Down
Karen Green: Frail Sister
Dorothy Iannone: You Who Read Me Must Now Forever Be My Friends

 

History + Politics

Anouck Durand: Eternal Friendship
Ellie Ga: Square Octagon Circle
Nancy Spero: Torture of Women
Denis Wood: Everything Sings (Maps for a Narrative Atlas)

 

LGBTQ

Joe Brainard: The Nancy Book
John Cage: Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
Dick Higgins: Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press (Selected Writings)
Jess: O! Tricky Cad & Other Jessoterica
Ray Johnson: The Paper Snake
Ray Johnson: Not Nothing (Selected Writings, 1954-1994)

 

Poetry/Poetics

Karen Green: Bough Down
Dick Higgins: Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press (Selected Writings)
Robert Seydel: A Picture Is Always a Book (Further Writings from Book of Ruth)
Robert Seydel: Songs of S.
Keith Waldrop: Several Gravities
Wood: Everything Sings (Maps for a Narrative Atlas)
Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen

 

Photography

Sophie Calle: The Address Book
Sophie Calle: Suite Vénitienne
Ellie Ga: Square Octagon Circle
Karen Green: Frail Sister

 

Subversions

Joe Brainard: The Nancy Book
John Cage: Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
Sophie Calle: The Address Book
Sophie Calle: Suite Vénitienne
Dick Higgins: Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press (Selected Writings)
Dorothy Iannone: You Who Read Me Must Now Forever Be My Friends
Ray Johnson: Not Nothing (Selected Writings, 1954-1994)
Ray Johnson: The Paper Snake
Richard Kraft: Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera
Vincent Sardon: The Stampographer
Nancy Spero: Torture of Women
Denis Wood: Everything Sings (Maps for a Narrative Atlas)

 

 

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