Events > Publication Launch

13 Sep. 2008

Publication launch for Michael Maranda's Un Coup de Dés N'Abolira Le Hasard: Livre

Michael Maranda
Parasitic Ventures Press
1 pm - 3 pm

Art Metropole is all smiles to announce our latest publication Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard: Livre by Michael Maranda. Please join us on Saturday September 13, 2008 from 1-3 pm to launch this new artists’ book and to meet the artist.

In 1914, Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem, Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard: Poème, was finally published by the Nouvelle Revue Français. Printed as a limited edition in Belgium, the poem ‘works’ only as a typographical object. As Mallarmé states in his introduction, “[l]es «blancs» en effet, assument l’importance, frappent d’abord. …” In 1969, Marcel Broodthaers took Mallarmé’s assertion at face value, and re-published a version of the poem as Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard: Image where solid black bands take the place of the text of the poem. Reminiscent of heavily censored texts, with a totally new preface, Broodthaers’ work has been influential mostly in its rarity (few versions are publicly accessible). Broodthaers’ version was also printed in Belgium.

In Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard: Livre, Maranda re-enacts the gesture of Broodthaers, taking it one step further in a meditation on «les blancs». Instead of the black band of censorship, however, the place of the text is replaced with the absence of ink. Surrounding these literal «blancs» is a cream coloured ink wash, imitating the paper stock of the original edition. To highlight the transformation of the reception of the poem by Broodthaers’ edition, the preface of this edition is Mallarmé’s original one, translated from French to Dutch and then to English using the online translator, Babel Fish. The English version is printed in black ink, the French is printed in the absence of ink, and the Dutch version remains only in the traces of the transformation.

This edition is co-published by Art Metropole & Parasitic Ventures Press. It was not printed in Belgium.

Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard: Livre, Michael Maranda (Canadian), 2008, Art Metropole (Toronto)
Edition of 400, numbered, perfect-bound, softcover, 3 colour offset, 32.5 × 25 x .5cm, unpaginated. $47

_At one time I devoted extensive time to a PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. My dissertation was an extended discourse analysis of the discipline of art history, in particular looking at the rhetorical limits of art history, limits established in the acceptance of certain defining categorical concepts (style, period, and canon, of course, but by extension artist, history, work, and time) at the foundation of the discipline in the late nineteenth century.

This durance in academia was somewhat fated from the start, in that I was less interested in an academic career than I was interested in attempting, as far as possible, to stop making visual art. While the dissertation was abandoned in the final stretch, two lasting results came from this tenure. The first, academic credibility, which continues to grant me relatively easy access to various libraries and archives. The second, an invigorated studio practice that puts into concrete form much of the ideas and interests that I was pursuing in my formal studies.

In particular, my work entails a close reading of ‘classic’ texts from the Western philosophical tradition. Paying attention the structural forms of these texts (collectively as an class, and individually as specific instances), I undertake a form of rogue editing, drawing out structural themes and motifs that make the primary text possible. Important to my practice is that the work I produce is a secondary text, written ‘over top’ of existing texts. The refiguring of these texts is done through various devices of distanciation. The execution of this work is as necessary as the pre-figured thought that goes into its planning. Like many contemporary conceptual artists, I view the embodiment of the physical work as a necessary aspect of my practice.

Where possible, I prefer to display and contextualize this work in situ, as books (e.g., not as artist books) that infiltrate the structures of the dissemination of the primary texts themselves._

- Michael Maranda (from artist’s website)

Parasitic Ventures Press is a press interested in artists’ books.

By our definition, an artists’ book is a highly mutable form, which connotes a contextual framework within which a work is produced rather than as a particular physical form. As Johanna Drucker has stated, the two structural elements of a book are finitude and sequence. We agree.

Our interest is in artists’ books that extensively use text as a medium. We are intrigued by the possibilities inherent in the subversion of text, particularly when the source text is of the ‘found’ variety.

(Please see below for a list of things we are definitely not interested in.)

The press has been variably active over the past fifteen-some years. Initially established in Montreal, the press has been located over a wide geographic range, including Saskatoon, Washington, Rochester, & Amsterdam. The press is currently located in Toronto, Ontario. In the past, we primarily focussed on in-house productions, from handbound limited edition books to anonymous public-site interventions.

We have expanded the activities of the press to also produce work by other artists and collectives.

Using appropriate technologies, we hope to foster an increasing range of critically-engaged projects. We are primarily pursuing inexpensively produced print projects. For the right project, we might also be interested in producing extremely limited edition ‘fine’ books in collaboration with producers.

  1. Michael Maranda - Un Coup De Dés N’Abolira Le Hasard: Livre