Blind and Fake: Exploring the geography of the expanded book

Maria Hellström Reimer, Milica Lapčević, Luca Simeone


It seems like we are now rapidly leaving the galaxy of printed matter. As screen-based media is making its entry into our everyday lives, it is pushing aside an object – the book - that has structured our forms of being together for almost six hundred years. This shift is not absolute but successive, and it raises a lot of questions. What kind of mediating practices are developing beyond printed media? And how do these practices structure and organize common spaces and publicities? Even though we are today far into the electronic age, we are still in way suspended in between modern individualized life and new, more floating societal formations. Therefore, rather than presupposing the disappearance of the book, this article approaches the idea of the book as an expanded and inter-medial “boundary object” (Star and Griesemer 1989). The point of departure is in this respect the expanded book project Roma Europa Fake Factory (REFF) (Henderson et. al. 2010) – a platform for global discussion and exchange concerning the management and governance of new public spheres in the electronic age. Playing out the visual authority of the printed text against the flickering of the net through the use of inter-mediating QR codes (Quick Response Codes) and fiducial markers, the project constituted a critical and artefactual intervention, remixing and mashing-up the forcible means of the printed word with the intermediary potentials of electronic circuits. In the article, we discuss the project through one of the contributions – Blind Points of Transition – a combined text- and video-based dialogue; on the one hand an exploration of the book and the net as different locations, and on the other hand a tentative mapping of the intermediary territory between two geographically separate places. Focusing on the transition of text through different media, the article critically examines the spatial expansion and modifications of the book as it enters electronic circuits, thus proposing a ‘blind and fake’, or in other words questioning, form of boundary modification; dislocating the critical focus from visuality to agency and from permanent property to 

intermediary production.


expanded book; intermediality; inter-modality; boundary object; boundary modification

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