About Me

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If you like short, fiery, red haired East Londoners who now reside in Norwich that have a penchant for video games, board games and filmmaking then you've come to the right place, my friend. I write a fortnightly column about video games for Forces of Geek and I write, direct, edit and film with Cheesemint Productions, my production company. You can search for us on YouTube, you know how the Internet works, right? This blog, Excuse Me While I Geek Out is a place to collect my column pieces for Forces Of Geek and anything I've written for other websites and publications as well as being a place to write about all things geek. My other blog, For All Or None is a cathartic activity dedicated to my mental health and I write openly and honestly about deeply personal psychological issues that effect me. It's an mental outlet so doesn't necessarily require readers especially as it will no doubt be full of grammatical errors, nonsense and spelling mistakes.

She appears composed, so she is, I suppose

Hi there,

Welcome to this unorganised collection of my writings, thoughts, creative notes and ramblings. It may not be coherent and at times may be a little hard to follow. Such is the nature of language and I'm not writing for anyone else, just myself, in an attempt to organise my thoughts and to aid me with my creative work but please feel free to peruse and comment if you wish to do so.

XO,

Emma-Jane

Sunday, 28 December 2008

How Dare She!?!

How dare I indeed. Let us first take a moment to remember the words of Nietzsche:

"How much truth can a spirit bear, how much truth can a spirit dare..."

I realise that some people may drop their jaws, be stunned, outraged even, that I could ever do such terrible things to a poor defenceless book. How could you?! You might exclaim in anger. Well, please dear reader, calm down, get comfortable and let me explain...

Much like the rest of you bibliophiles out there, I am also of the opinion that books are the ONLY material possession worth caring about (I mean, I even received book ends and a book case for christmas which I am eternally grateful for!) and it saddens me that there are more books in existance than I could ever read! Without books I would go slowly insane!

However, as a bookseller I am also of the opinion that there are thousands of books that aren't worth the paper or the ink they're printed in. This is why I can not bring myself to deface or destroy a book that I actually like. I agree that this is very subjective (bow down to my superior value judgements! Mwahahaha!) even still, I don't care...there is no way I could EVER destroy a creation of Oscar Wilde's or Friedrich Nietzsche's for example, I respect their work far too much (however, destroying a Nietzschean text would be something that you can be sure Nietzsche himself would approve of- if he were still alive!).

The three books I have been experimenting on are no Wildes, oh no, they are trashy, mass-market paperbacks, the kind that I abhor...so I feel completely justified in manipulating them.
However, I have to admit that despite being awful books, I felt such a pang of guilt when I began cutting away at the pages, painting on them and changing the narrative. I felt as if I was some kind of criminal, it felt strangely...wrong. Yet, at the same time incredibly liberating!

I'm not saying that people should start cutting up books for the sake of art...please don't! Take them to a charity shop! Donate them to other people, ANYTHING but destroy them...UNLESS, you know that there are a multitude of copies still in print that are easily available...don't go searching out those rare gems or editions, those are priceless! These are the rules that I've been following anyway...

So, there...I've admitted it, yes I DO cut up books, for that crime I am GUILTY!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Christmas Time- Cameras and Wine!!

I've been a good girl all year and have been rewarded by Santa in the form of a camera so I can finally upload all my pictures and experimenation. Poetry, narrative work, painting, altered books...etc. Enjoy!

The 3 books I've been playing around with!






Painting on books...(left)
My crime novel cut and paste with the Story of O and Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy (Below)











You made a mistake! Damn right he did, by writing an awful crime novel. Well, I put that to rights! (Below!)
















Just in case I hadn't mentioned it before...You made a mistake!








Some random cuttings (left) and my scissorwork which leaves much to be desired...I will buy a craft knife soon! (below)





















I really like the way the books look with pages spread, extremely tactile, just how a book should be!













More....









A few pages inspired by sentances within the page (watercolour)






















More fiction made erotic using corrector fluid!












I do like the way the corrector fluid has dried and become transparent!












Nietzschean Poetry! (Created by cutting out words from The Birth of Tragedy and re-arranging them! I intend to do more of this!)
















Poem/Ransom note/Guilt/Confession?!
Who Knows? But I felt it told a story!








I will endeavour to add some more as my project develops! For now, I will enjoy what is left of Christmas with a few more glasses of wine!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Useful Links and Contemporary Examples...

This post is a collection of useful websites I've found that have aided my project but it is also a compilation of contemporary artists that use books as a medium.

http://www.ebsqart.com/artMagazine/za_271.htm

Article from an online art magazine

http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/artbkmks.htm

Collection of book art links

http://www.alteredbookartists.com/

International society of altered book artists (ISABA)


Whilst searching for useful links, I came across this quote and Chinese propoganda poster:




"To Read Too Many Books is Harmful"(Mao Zedong)

It made me realise, although I am saddened by the fact there are too many books for me to read in my lifetime; for others, reading books is a punishable offence. In a way, my punishment is that I am free to read all books but I also have the knowledge that it is impossible to do so. This is what I call the eternal dilemma of a bookseller.




The website that the poster comes from is http://chineseposters.net/toomanybooks/index.php
This website is the digital version of an exhibition, which was organised by and held at the libraries of the Sinological Institute (Leiden Univeristy, Netherlands) between 7th December 2004 and 30th June 2005.


This particular website: http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/09/bittersweet-art-of-cutting-up-books.html looks at the "weird and wonderful" and I came across an article called "The Bittersweet Art of Cutting Up Books" It was certainly interesting and has given me knowledge of some contemporary book artists that I had previously been unaware of. For example, Jacqueline Rush Lee and Cara Barer

http://www.jacquelinerushless.com/

http://www.carabarer.com/

Another artist is Georgia Russell; http://www.englandgallery.com/artist_group.php?mainId=32&media=Constructions%20%26%20mixed%20media

Su Blackwell is an interesting one, I liked this image so much that I had to show it here too;






I think is beautifully done and has once again made me think about childrens books as a medium on which to experiment. I feel that manipulating the narrative of a childrens story into that of an adult narrative would be highly challenging and would highlight the absurdity in the usage of language in the two genres. By subverting something seen as innocent into something quite shocking I would also be challenging the moral assumptions of my audience as well as their assumptions of what a book (within the boundaries of a certain genre) should be. Thus manipulating not only the books themselves but also the audiences aesthetic experience and perception.




Mike Stilkey is another contemporary artist however he uses the spines of books piles up together as a canvas. This is one way of using books that I had not considered and I might try out this technique especially as I have been known to organise my book collection by not only author surname but colour of spine also!


http://www.mikestilkey.com/



Jim Rosenau's work makes me laugh and by using books themselves as a book shelf transforms
them into furniture. This suggests to me that Rosenau is possibly making a reference that too many people see books as furniture or merely to decorate a room.
His humour appeals to me especially as I prefer to act in ways which amuse me or produce art that makes me laugh regardless of how subjective the joke often is. Doing something for the sake of fun or amusement is important especially when I am focusing on a medium which holds such a significance to my very being. Books are about entertainment and so I appreciate work which can blend subtle humour but also celebrate books as art.


His website is one worth looking at: http://www.thisintothat.com/
Dark Roasted Blend has proved one of the most useful sites so far and it has another article which looks at book sculpture: http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2007/08/unusual-books.html
These sites have given me a lot to think about and I will continue my experimentation over the next month using the techniques I have learnt about. I need to also research the alteration of words and perhaps the different ways I can alter narrative.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Progress is a wonderful thing...

Last week, engaging in a group crit with everyone else on my course I discovered that I've made much more progress than I had realised. Something I had done for fun to make myself laugh was to tipex over words from a book to create an erotic story. This was done purely out of amusement yet everyone seemed to like it. It makes me realise that sometimes the things you dislike or dismiss end up being the best ideas.

Still, I now have the necessary fuel I need, I suppose I'd lost my confidence since I've been out of art for a while. I'd forgotten that art doesn't have to mean painting or drawing and I was reminded of my conceptual piece on 'Dreams' when I was back at school. I used my dream diary and painted excerpts and imagery from my dreams onto persplex and hung them, layering them and at different heights. At the time I felt like it wasn't really art and never really liked it but perservered because my tutors encouraged me to continue. I felt like it wasn't art yet it was. Strange that through retrospect I now realise that it was my best piece of art work yet, I mean I was commenting upon the nature of dreams and reality, the transparency or opaqueness of our subconscious but I didn't know enough about psychology at the time. If I had then maybe I would have enjoyed it more. I mean, I enjoyed creating the erotic story by editing and deleting the words in a book because it made me laugh and because it links in with Nietzschean philosophy; the destruction needed to create something new and also the absurdity of language; how everything is a metaphor for something else. I always feel frustrated that every thing I seem to do or say or read becomes Nietzschean but then it makes perfect sense. I would explain further but the whole point of Nietzsche's writing is that it can not be summarised into neat little bullet points, you have to read him to truly understand him and if I tried to explain his ideas, they somehow become changed, their meaning is lost and to an extent even just reading his work it is lost, language is far more complex than we may realise and creates more problems than it solves...reminds me of Depeche Mode! Check out the lyrics of Enjoy the Silence http://www.metrolyrics.com/enjoy-the-silence-lyrics-depeche-mode.html
especially "Words are meaningless and forgettable"...I suppose this fits in with my book art project now, more than ever. Which reminds me, I'm going to have to buy some more corrector fluid (it's Tip-ex but not as we know it!- yeah so, I'm beginning to waffle and should stop now)

I guess I should end this entry by pointing out that all this looking back and reminiscing has made me see that the reflexive research we've been encouraged to do throughout the Core Unit and group crit is a lot more beneficial than I had at first realised!

Progress is wonderful but retrospect is also a wonderful thing...
(As is Nietzsche's writing!)