Exhibition: The Internal Machine
Curated by John Roach
The Center for Book Arts
New York, NY
The Internal Machine is and exhibition inspired by the work of Italian designer and artist Bruno Munari, particularly his humorous machines (like Mechanism to Play the Flute Even When One is Not at Home or A Lizard-driven Engine for Tired Tortoises) and his books (Illegible Books and Pre-Books) which challenge the expectations of the book as a piece of vision-centric technology.
It is true that we have designed the machine that we call “the book” (The transition from scrolls to the codex standard that we know today occurred between the first and fifth century CE) but how, conversely, has it designed us? How has it rewired our understanding of what it means to read and to research? The way we think and receive information?
The artists in the exhibition follow in Munari’s path by exploring a multi-sensory approach to the book and to the acquisition of information. They not only invite us to experience the book re-imagined, but also the ways that this technology has shaped who we are and how we understand the world.
I designed and wrote the introductory essay for an accompanying catalogue for The Internal Machine. The 66 page full color catalogue includes essays by Shannon Mattern and Seph Rodney. You can order one by contacting the Center for Book Arts. Here are some sample spreads from the book.