1st Edition

The Experimental Book Object Materiality, Media, Design

Edited By Sami Sjöberg, Mikko Keskinen, Arja Karhumaa Copyright 2023
    336 Pages 63 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Experimental Book Object shows why and how books matter in the 21st century. Digital and audio platforms are commonplace, and other fields of art beyond literature have increasingly embraced books and publication as their medium of choice. Nevertheless, the manifold book object persists and continues to inspire various types of experimentation. This volume sets forth an unprecedented approach where literary and media theory are entangled with design practitioners’ artistic research and process descriptions. By probing the paradigm of the codex, this collection of essays focuses on historical and contemporary experimentation that has challenged what books are and could be from the perspectives of materiality, mediation, and visual and typographic design. Investigations into less-studied areas and cases of performativity demonstrate what experimental books do by interacting with their systemic and cultural environments. The volume offers a multifaceted and multidisciplinary view of the book object, the book design and publishing processes, and their significance in the digital age.


    Sami Sjöberg, Mikko Keskinen and Arja Karhumaa

    Opening Experimental Book Objects: The Heterogeneity of the Codex in the Twenty-First Century

    I Book Matters

    Jan Baetens
    Olivier Deprez, Books and Company

    Emily Brennan-Moran and Torsa Ghosal
    Excessive Tactility of 9/11 Book Memorials

    Danuta Fjellestad & Sami Sjöberg

    Performative Materiality of Book Inserts: The Case of S. and Personal Effects

    Mikko Keskinen
    The Two-Layered Book and Storyworld, with Transgressions: Graham Rawle’s Overland

    Juri Joensuu
    Literary Mutilation: Typographical and Material Abuse in Finnish Experimental Poetry and Book Art

    Juha-Pekka Kilpiö
    Punched Pages: Holes in Experimental Print Literature

    Oskari Rantala
    The Disintegrating (Comic) Book Object and the End of the Narrative Universe in Promethea

    II Book Mediations

    Stella Bolaki
    Bound to Matter: Artists’ Books and Illness Experience

    Laura Piippo

    Looking Back to Now: Book as Technology of Remembering the Present in Jatkosota-extra by Jaakko Yli-Juonikas

    Wojciech Drąg
    The Dispersed Self, the Database and Digital Biography: David Clark’s 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein

    Sara Tanderup Linkis
    Performing E-bookness: Remediation and Meta-Mediality in the E-book Edition of Mark Z. Danielewski’s The Fifty Year Sword

    III Book Designs

    Leslie Atzmon
    Gender, Transgression, and Ritual Torah Preparation

    Zach Dodson
    Bookish Biomes: The Writing and Design of KUU, a Paper Ecosystem

    Pauliina Nykänen & Arja Karhumaa
    Body Text: Exploring Somatic Devices in the Design of Hybrid Books Fun Primavera and Yours

    Zoë Sadokierski & Cecilia Heffer
    Encountering Lace Narratives: Designing a Multimodal Book to Capture the Complexity of Practitioner-Research

    Nick Thoburn and Nick Thurston
    Papercuts: The Horizons of Minor Publishing


    Johanna Drucker

    Direct Objects: Critical Ways to "Think a Book"


    Sami Sjöberg is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. His research focuses on avant-garde and experimental literature, especially in relation to science and epistemology. He is an Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Avant-Garde Studies and the author of The Vanguard Messiah: Lettrism between Jewish Mysticism and the Avant-Garde (2015).

    Mikko Keskinen is Professor of Comparative Literature (University of Jyväskylä, Finland). His main research interests include narrative theory, sound studies, experimental literature, and intermediality. Keskinen is the author of Response, Resistance, Deconstruction (1998) and Audio Book: Essays on Sound Technologies in Narrative Fiction (2008). He has co-edited a book on the collage novel (2018) and two journal issues on “the ubique and unique book” (Image & Narrative, 2019).

    Arja Karhumaa is a graphic designer, text artist, and Associate Professor in Visual Communication Design at Aalto University, Finland. Their work spans across experimental writing, visual poetry, typography, and publishing. Karhumaa is the author and designer of the artistic research Epä/igenesis (2021) featuring the artist book Epägenesis: Katalogi X, a catalogue of their experimental writing.