“The Last Book kindles creation-fires of a new kind; it marks the birth of the technological illuminated manuscript. With texts by Mary Gaitskill, drawings by Davina Semo, videos by Leslie Thornton, and sound by Greg Landau, this hybrid folio demands to be man-handled with care, to be rewound and fast-forwarded, to be read and touched. This jeweled and inlaid vellum reveals the book as fetish, book as master controlling and prescribing our movements, book as monster: it inaugurates a novel reading ritual–part riot, part cutting-arcane. The book at last dead? Long Live the Last Book!”
-Gabriela Jauregui, author of Controlled Decay
The Last Book: This Ain’t Your Grandson’s Kindle
- The Last Book: This Ain’t Your Grandson’s Kindle
- Steve Fagin's Introduction to The Last Book Performance
- Images and Video from The Last Book Performance
- Kimberli Meyer, Director of the MAK Center, on The Last Book
- Mian Mian, Shanghai-based author, on her The Last Book Performance
- Bill Horrigan, Media Director of the Wexner Center, on The Last Book
- Participant Biographies
For this project, the haudenschild Garage, Spare Parts produced an homage to “the book” in the age of the conquest of the Kindle. Steve Fagin wished to resuscitate the magnificence of the illuminated manuscript as the world turned toward darkness. Perhaps electronic technology could be used, not to leave the book on the dustbin of history, but to reconstitute a forgotten past where words and images danced in each other’s arms.
To this end the haudenschild Garage produced and constructed a one of a kind book that included text, drawings, moving images and sounds. Its construction in the medieval, supersized tradition consisted of three illuminated folios each eighteen and a half inches high, thirteen inches wide and three inches deep.
To make this more than a dirge for the dead, a proper Joycian Wake, we incorporated into our project the live and kicking writing skills of Mary Gaitskill (Two Girls Fat and Thin), the macabre visual lyricism of Leslie Thornton (Peggy and Fred in Hell) and YouTube, the MySpace-with-a-twist drawings of Davina Semo, the retro-futurist music mix of Greg Landau, and as the piece de resistance, Shanghai’s notorious and ever so talented bad girl author Mian Mian as one of our performers with Monica Jovanovich-Kelley and the Kindle. This bouillabaisse was concocted by Steve Fagin.
On April 26, 2009 The Last Book was performed at the Schindler House, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles.
Last Book participants include Eloisa Haudenschild (producer and line producer), Monica Jovanovich-Kelley (stage manager), John DeMerritt (book binding), Joel Swanson (graphic design), Tad Linfesty (easel and book fabrication), Jim Nisbet (book fabrication), William Brent and Marco Llanos (electronics/technical coordination), Hsiufang Chen and Kate Wall (printing), Alastair Johnston, Teddy Cruz, and Alan Rosenblum (consultants), and Patricia Montoya (video assistant). The Last Book performance photography by Yvonne Venegas and video documentation by Merve Kayan.
The haudenschild Garage wishes to thank Kimberli Meyer, Director of the MAK Center.