On 15th November we found a peculiar opening near Hoxton Square, in London. “The Goodhood workshop” space housed an exhibition of Galleries Goldstein. The artist, Stevie Ronnie, was a perfect host and he explained to us how his art plays with the concept of the death and the resurrection of the book and editorial world. He used old books and new and old technologies. It was a small but very interesting exhibition.
“In a word where books have long lost all likeness to books, the real book can no longer be one.
(Adorno, Minima Moralia)
Adorno is here talking about the corrosive effect of modern life on our concepts of integrity, identity and authenticity, three areas which are very much foregrounded by Stevie Ronnie’s Brass Book project. Like the sly old dialectician he was, Adorno was also hinting there could be a certain liberty in being freed from rigid notions of what a book is. The positive elements of that freedom, the ways it can restore us to community, to self determination and self-expression, are at the heart of Brass Book.
“Working with a brass band and a writers’ group, collaborating with a furniture maker and deploying his own expertise in digital technology, Stevie Ronnie has produced an immersive experience which goes beyond
the conventional book into three meta-volumes, where printed questions prompt hypertextual responses,
and community is affirmed by musical self-portraits, archival images and the film of his own subtle,
W. N. Herbert
In the final leg of a national tour artist, writer and technologist Stevie Ronnie presents Brass Book, a literary artwork that approaches the possibilities of digital literature from a unique angle. It builds on the idea that books are a very successful technology in themselves: for hundreds of years we have loved them for their look, feel, smell, convenience and portability as much as the words that sit on their pages.
By preserving the tactile elements of a literary experience while embracing the possibilities of the digital medium, Brass Book poses the question: what if digital technology were harnessed to enhance the traditional book rather than replace it?
This work will be shown alongside a wider selection of Stevie Ronnie’s interdisciplinary artworks which
re-imagine the concept of literature in the digital age.
Brass Book was commissioned for Brass: Durham International Festival by Durham City Arts with support from Durham County Council, Arts Council England, The Sage Gateshead and Culture Lab.
Text from Galeries Goldstein.