At first, what drew me to this interview was the name of the press, “Druckwerk.” It was a fun and interesting name that I would later realize is inspired by the artist’s name herself, Johanna Drucker. Throughout her interview with Kyle Schlesinger, Drucker discusses the connection between art and text. She has been noted for having a vast knowledge of both graphic design throughout history and academic wordings which she uses along with experimentation to make a whole new separate but connected thing between the two ideas of print. In doing so she makes an entirely new basis of printing style. On page one-hundred-and-eighty, she even states that “(She) wanted to learn things that were new.”
The quote from this interview that stuck with me was on page one-hundred-and-seventy-four. Johanna says that “none of us has exclusive claim on historical events we have lived through, or the impressions we leave on others of our selves and lives.”
And admittedly, I don’t personally take much if any real claim on historical events. But, as someone who has felt like a month cannot pass without at least one or two major historical events happening anymore, this quote caught my attention. I don’t actually know much on what it is that had this catch my attention. But I wanted to give it a mention.
“Johanna Drucker: Druckwerk,” 2012. A Poetics of the Press, edited by Kyle Schlesinger, Cuneiform Press & Ugly Duckling Presse, 2021, pp. 168-182.
4 thoughts on “The Art and the Letter”
The relationship between text and image is interesting, because text is a visual representation of language. It’s a collection of images that stand (in English and other phonetic languages) for sounds, which make up words, which make up ideas. In pictographic languages, like Chinese, the characters stand for ideas themselves; they’re like little pictures, which, organized in a certain way, can tell a story. Text is almost a kind of visual art, with rules that dictate how the meaning is understood (grammar). I wonder if, how, and what happens when you break those rules?
History cannot be copyrighted, I guess, though it certainly can be personalized. And I think that’s what we have the tendency to do with our lives: to personalize everything that happens around us, probably because the only perspective we can accurately understand is our own.
I agree that the name of this press is most definitely designed to catch the reader’s attention! I find it interesting how you elaborate on the idea that Drucker’s method of connecting art and text produces an entirely new basis for the printing style.
I like how you mention Johanna Drucker’s background in graphic design– it think it’s very evident in the print you’ve included in your post. There’s definitely an interesting design element to the thoughtfulness behind the seemingly arbitrary letter/symbol selection and arrangement. I think this brings an interesting style to her printing as well as the combination of art and symbol.