Books are Bridges: a workshop with backbonebooks
During the month of April, HumDrum Press had the pleasure of being invited to join a workshop led by backbonebooks as part of PrintRoom Rotterdam's Growing the Archive series.
Claudia de la Torre, the founder of backbonebooks, began the workshop by sharing some of context surrounding her background in publishing. Claudia’s practice centres book arts, looking at the creation of objects, fields and spaces in relation to the book as a highly historical & contemporary medium. As such, backbonebooks performs consistently in a flexible, conceptual and collaborative process, aiming to open a new perspective on what a book can be.
The workshop entailed working with a selection of 21 books from PrintRoom’s archive, which spans innumerable works collected over the past 10 years of PrintRoom’s existence. Participants were invited to take their time browsing through the 21 selected titles, to become familiar with the books, and acquainted with their content, design, scope and associations. We were then invited to write down word, phrase and meaning associations with a selection of 5 books from the 21 presented. For each book we were also asked to write down further references we think were connected to the book.
The purpose of the workshop was unravel the cross-lineages of connections, associations, and intertextuality between books and other artistic or cultural artefacts. To understand that no book can be understood or read as a single instance, but is interconnected to an entire world of objects, creations, associations, memories and more. In this sense, we were creating an archive within an archive within an archive. At the end of the workshop, Claudia collected our associated meanings together, and, at the end of the week, turned these meanings into a publication of their own to be presented as Misread Berlin.
Conversations during the workshop centred around cross referencing, associated meanings, archives within archives, books within books, and the ongoing lifespan of a book before and after it is made (a personal favourite for HumDrum Press). The workshop was particularly impactful for our publishing practice, not only because we were able to meet other publishers including backbonebooks and Unformed Informed, but we were faced with questions and confrontations about areas of our vision and practice, particularly the form and focus we want to adopt. These comments and conversations have left lasting impressions for us, and are helping us as we endeavour to establish our working publishing model.