On Viewing Words

In this paper I will argue the value to be found in the visual analysis of text, drawing upon the artists’ books of Czech-born Australian artist Petr Herel (1943–2022) as case study. A seminal figure in the development and dissemination of the artist’s book in Australia, the complexity of Herel’s work lies in part through his use of text that conveys meaning without necessarily being conventionally ‘read’. This paper takes concepts rooted in traditional and conventionally rigid semiotic frameworks,including the relationship between text and context and the polysemy of meaning, and applies them in a flexible and contemporary approach that facilitates new visual analyses of the text present in Herel’s books. The artist’s use of unfamiliar alphabets, familiar alphabets and unknowable alphabets calls for a new iteration of analysis that encourages and celebrates visual meaning(s) from text.

Social Textiles

Poetry as protest in the Anthropocene

This paper interrogates the common threads between protest literature and banner sculptural poetry, while it also explores alternative forms that protest banners take and the way that these communicate with ideas surrounding ecological and social justice. Overall, it seeks to theorise and map contemporary sculptural poetries produced by women in the UK and beyond and, in the process, to provide an up-to-date account of this mode, not only from a critical angle but from a creative angle as well. The paper starts with considering poetry in banner form as a prominent element of protest with relevant work by Thalia Campbell and Maggie O’Sullivan, and then considering wearable art by Rachel Fallon as a dynamic and multisensory praxis. These materials and more are blended with relevant secondary literature review and creative responses. The textual banners presented here showcase innovative poetry’s potential to destabilise canons, reconfigure, and restitch our social and ecological stratification.

Two Hundred and Forty-Three Postcards in Real Colour

Georges Perec’s postcards were first published in the French magazine Le FOU parle, in 1978. They were not postcards at all, just the written messages, and far from their description ‘en Couleurs Véritables’ (in Real Colour), they were entirely in black and white. The Postcards for Perec mail art project responded to Perec’s 243 imaginary postcard messages by creating the missing images as real postcards.