Collaborative Ty/opography

By Drucker, Johanna | Afterimage, November 1999 | Go to article overview

Collaborative Ty/opography

Drucker, Johanna, Afterimage

Brad Freeman and met in the spring of 1990 while he was director of the Offset Artists' Books Program at Pyramid Atlantic in Washington, D.C. I had received a grant to produce my book Simulant Portrait (1990). It was one of my first opportunities to work in offset printing, a medium with which I had far less familiarity than letterpress, but in which Brad had developed conceptual and technical skills as an artist. The project brought us together in a professional relationship that quickly made me aware of the ways in which our individual abilities and sensibilities meshed. The experience also sensitized me to fundamental differences in our working methods. Since then we have collaborated formally and informally on books and articles, the editing and publishing of JAB: The Journal of Artists' Books and in curating exhibitions. Brad is primarily a visual artist and I think of myself primarily as a writer, but disciplinary lines are frequently crossed in our work.

It was clear to us from the outset that we were both committed to a critical apperception of contemporary life from an individual, subjective point of view premised on the idea that fine art provides an essential alternative discourse to mainstream dominant culture. What drew us together is a similar sharp edge to our work. One of the things that struck me when I began to work with Brad was that he actually read the entire text of Simulant Portrait while printing it and engaged with the science-fiction and biographical tropes that motivated its investigation of the problems of creating a feminist subjectivity.

Both of us perceive the complex density of the book form as a means of communicating intimately through a book's dynamic properties as experienced by an individual reader or viewer. My tendency is to work through a project to a nearly complete mock-up before I begin printing; Brad is far more sensitive to the printing process as a way of thinking creatively as his project progresses. Whether working in letterpress or on a computer for digital pre-press, I will change the text on a piece to make it fit the space, give it a particular visual shape or, in the case of letterpress, accommodate running out of certain letters as I am setting the type. This approach reflects the fact that I have a layout in mind and that much of my bookwork is format-driven. However, have watched Brad entirely rethink a page after it has been printed and come up with a printing solution (another plate, halftone screen, color area or pattern or other application of ink) that pushes the sheet in a completely new direction. I watched h im transfer this sensibility to the production of his book MuzeLink (1997), an extensive project, almost monumental in scale that was not entirely laid out in advance of production. Much of the book's final appearance is the result of Brad's continual rethinking of the relationships among the elements in the book that only became apparent as he was producing it. He would sequence photographs in a section, sketch them into the dummy, then project forward for a few days, letting the next sections emerge schematically. In some areas, whole sequences were worked out while the intermediate pages were still blank. He was also able to introduce events that occurred in his life into the still-malleable form of the piece. The difference between working a book out in advance and conceptualizing it during production is fundamental. Sometimes this has introduced a certain tension into our collaborative process, but overall it has been beneficial in working on Nova Reperta, our most ambitious collaboration to date.

Although the project engaged our concern with systematic experimentation with narrative, striking differences in our working methods remained. My sense of narrative is deeply rooted in literary traditions, cliches, tropes and other forms that I absorbed in the process of reading the great literary classics. Reinvestigating these narrative lines has been a crucial part of my interrogation of the links between my own internal life and that of the cultural context in which my psyche intersects with the social imaginary. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Collaborative Ty/opography


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.