not a book, 2014
“not a book” is a digital project concerned with the histories, presents, and futures of books and the technologies of reproduction and replication used to make them. Created from digital images of the traces left from the original copper engraved botanical prints on the interleaved blank pages of a digitized edition of one printed copy of an 1844 issue of “Flora Batava” magazine, the project reflects on and raises questions regarding just what a book is and was by delving into the history of “the” book as a collection of historically contingent technologies and social processes. Seeking to document and understand how the material traces of bookmaking processes and technologies become legible in new ways once they are reframed and accessed in the context of new technologies of replication and reproduction, this is fundamentally a very “heady” project about a very beautiful book. You can access a copy of the edition of “Flora Batava” from which the “not a book” digital image was produced here. You can order your own printed copy of the “not a book” digital image here, and access a free copy to print yourself here.
As with all digital remixes, this project has many authors and contributors, including Kurt Steuber (www.kurtsteuber.de), whose work preparing and publishing the digital scanned images of the “Flora Batava” at http://www.biolib.de made this project possible, the engraver J. C. Sepp, the publisher Jan Kops, Georg Jacob von Os and the many other illustrators, and Agnes Block, whose garden, named Viverjof, was where many of the botanical specimens documented in the book were planted. While the digital technology providers who contributed to this project are too numerous to name individually, as are the humans who created and manage the digital technologies employed, I am grateful to them for their contributions to this project.