a book grows in & out of itself


This site acts as an offshoot of the Galerie de Difformité: a book published by &NOW Books and distributed by Northwestern University Press. Participants are being invited to deform the book in stages before and after publication. Galerie de Difformité started deforming before the book was published (using pages, or “Exhibits,” that had been published in a variety of literary journals), and instructions are included in the published book to continue the communal deformation: including a space for readers to inse(r)t chapbooks. Chapbooks may be made individually or collaboratively by readers, as well as chosen and downloaded from a selection on this site. As occurred in Stage 1 of the book’s deformation, each chapbook somehow deforms the Galerie de Difformité, taking strict or loose license with that constraint: having its own collaborative vision, determined by each editor and collaborative deformants. As potential examples: one chapbook might be organized along the lines of an abecedarian, another might deal exclusively with the letter “B,” another might focus on the same materials/treatments of each exhibit then examine different results, or see what others have already done. Or a chapbook may approach the very notion of “Exhibit” with more elasticity or pick up another element in the GdD book or beyond. Chapbooks will serve as miniature catalogues: image-driven, with or without accompanying texts, depending on the collaborative bent and editor’s overall vision. A guest editor should write some introduction about their deformation process (i.e., “A Brief History of B,” otherwise titled “Aesthetic Deformation Statement”) outlining their sensibility toward deformation in general and the theme/approach of their chapbook, the process of enlisting subscribers (was there a public call? an invitation to friends? a class assignment?) and how the collected deformations deformed into the entity of a particular chapbook.

The chapbooks should be elegant desktop-published chapbooks, downloadable without cost. (See Directory for examples thus far.) Readers can download their choice, print the collected pages, fold them into a chapbook, & follow any further assembly instructions (i.e., “sew up my spine with red thread”). If you are interested in being a guest editor, design something that can be easily reproduced (for instance, using standard 8.5″x11″ paper or legal size, scissors, glue, thread, stickers, whatever you designate) that can fit this inside the book (unless it should grow outside that “box”—for instance, one chapbook here is designed to be mailed: “How To Mail a Book“). Whether sewn into/onto the page, tethered by a cord, or nestled into a pocket or envelope, or incorporating new media in traditional guises, these chapbooks are growing in & out of the book via pages 232-33. (In the following “sneak peak,” see image of open page spread around 1:10):

As aside, I’m hoping that these chapbooks might serve as pedagogical prototypes—that if a teacher wants to teach the Galerie de Difformité, there are built-in activities/assignments to expose and engage students with a variety of topics and issues (book history, material culture, visual poetry, sociocultural connotations of deformity, etc.). Later down the line, if another instructor wants to become a guest editor and edit a chapbook of student work, they can use these initial chapbooks as guide and make a class project via a new chapbook to add to the online Galerie. Submitted class chapbooks will  be archived online (for an example of a class chapbook, see here) and thus contribute to the further deformation of the book, as future readers select them to personalize/deform their own hard copies.

If you’re interested in participating or have questions, please see note at the bottom of the Directory, then contact the Undertaker. To return to the Galerie de Difformité, click here.