This powerpoint was first presented on June 6, 2009 at the Hybrid Book Conference at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia.

We presented our research project in the context of the panel Intersection + Intermedia. Several artists will presented projects that elevate the artist’s book beyond its basic form by using it as a tool to explore installation, performance, research, education, historical and digital processes, sound, interactivity, and more.

These are the two key questions that underlie our research explorations.

Our investigation into the combination of digital processes and analogue photogravure is a continuum of the hybridizing of technologies that has been part of my work for the last 15 years.

Domestic Arcana is a series of word and image triptychs using letterpress and photogravure. The hybrid nature of photogravure and its ambiguity of media, lends itself to a metaphoric translation of imagery.

The Townsite House Project consists of a book work and 34 photographs.

I live in Corner Brook’s Townsite area and photographed in five homes, all the same model.

This piece sets out to provide the visual equivalence of the uncanny experience of being in homes that are the same yet not the same as mine.

By using photogravure, the images function simultaneously as a document, or a photographic record and a constructed memory, the printed artifact. This creates the dynamic of disjunction that is key to this piece.

In my new work, I maintain my fascination with the dynamic of perceived opposing forces.

The strong technological focus of our research led me to consider the tools of historical and contemporary technology as my image source. This image was generated by scanning two lenses, balanced on top of each other.

In order to investigate how media-related decision-making influences outcome, I used the same image source to make three prints. Each provides a distinct translation, confirming that the image is not external to its form of presentation, but rather the media is instrumental in creating the meaning of the piece.

Colour separation photogravure creates an amalgam of a historical photographic process and current digital technology, maintaining the specific qualities of ink on paper process while taking advantage of digital capabilities. We are using digital processes to generate the four-colour separations. We then output these files onto transparent inkjet media, instead of the traditional wet darkroom and lith film process.

The digital technologies are used early on in the creation of the images.

And then the analogue methods re-assert themselves.

This book work is an exploration of the four-colour separation plates.

The potential of the process lies not in the creation of a seamless colour reproduction but in the printing permutations that can deviate from the preconceived use of a colour-separation method.

I wanted to subvert the convention of information as text block and created a cover that is the most didactic element in the piece informing the viewer of the methods used to create the image.

Quadrifid means “divided or deeply cleft into four parts”.

The cyan and yellow plates are printed in black.

The magenta and black plates complete this spread.

When the accordion section is expanded, it reveals the landscape created by the sequence.

In this image, the colour logic is internal to the object and the process. Because I was engaged in a steep learning curve there were many failed attempts along the way. An issue that arose was the role of work ethic and time investment. I struggled with the perconception that newer technologies are faster or more economic and historical methods are inherently more labour-intensive.

My conclusion would be to refute that perspective as I have also been engaged in the learning curve of controlling digital printing, which has taken an equivalent investment of time and resources. In addition, a large part of the significance of this research is the process and therefore the labour must be valued.

The back cover of this work uses the same components as the front, but reorganizes them to create a new image, echoing the operation of the internal sections.

The final work that I will show you is the first of a four-volume work entitled In Camera. This series uses disassembled and defunct camera components as it image source.

Our research has given me the context to create experimental works that are made with multiple producing methods but not limited by material or edition constraints.

Digital and analogue photogravure technologies are juxtaposed and layered in this work.

It is printed on Entrada, a two-sided coated digital fine art paper.

Consistent throughout all my work is my interest in the perceptual process. My focus now is the phenomenology of seeing and the role of the old and new camera in visual interpretation.

Scans from my notebooks provide clues to the image-making methods and process.

The components of defunct optical instruments are represented through two simultaneous points of view: the machine (the flatbed scanner) and the eye (the side-on view of the camera). Through these means, the architecture of the camera is loosely represented.

The colour image shows you the scanner’s translation of two stacked lenses and is a digital inkjet print while the black and white image is a medium format film camera translation of the same situation, printed in photogravure.

On the recto page, the digital and photogravure prints are layered together. The verso page diagrams the four different ways to stack the two lenses.

The historical tool, the film camera, and the contemporary tool, the digital scanner became my forum for experimentation and I was surprised by the resulting images.

The technological focus of this research project provided the space where the poetic and practical converged and were the catalyst for the creation of work.

We have become inured to the camera eye and mistake it for the only version of the truth. The contrast between these two translations reminds us of the role of mechanical devices in our interpretation of the world.

Our relationship with technology is discussed in Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism. The editors, Marx and Roe Smith, suggest

“Instead of treating “technology” per se as the locus of historical agency, the soft determinists locate it in a far more various and complex social, economic, political and cultural matrix.”

In this book work, each process is integral to the final result and as such, the boundaries between media become blurred. This provides a challenge to the historical practice of describing the visual arts as a series of discrete processes.

The book work offers a receptive format to the issues being explored. In “The Century of Artists’ Books”, Johanna Drucker describes how the artists’ book operates “at the intersection of a number of different disciplines, fields, and ideas – rather than at their limits.”

This project has provided me with the opportunity to work closely with colleagues, to be challenged by their differing perspectives while learning from each other and I would like to thank both Pierre and David for all their contributions. We would all like to thank Susan Viguers, Amanda d’Amico and Michelle Wilson of the University of the Arts for the tremendous work they did in organizing and presenting this conference.