Bibliomechanics is “bookish artware,” consisting of 27 Rubik's cubes, stacked together into a block (3×3×3) so as to create the kind of pataphysical writing-machine described by Jonathan Swift in The Voyage to Laputa — “a project for improving speculative knowledge by […] mechanical operations” so that, by such a “contrivance[,] the most ignorant person […] may write books […] without the least assistance from genius or study.” Every facet of these cubes displays a white word printed in Futura on a black label so that, when properly stacked together, the cubes create eighteen separate surfaces (six exterior, twelve interior), each one of which becomes a page that displays a readable sentence (81 words long). Each sentence paraphrases a poetic theory about the machinic function of language itself. The reader can, of course, scramble each cube so as to create an alternative permutation, generating a new text from the vocabulary of the old text.
Bibliomechanics is a kind of 3D-version of Cents mille milliards de poèmes by Raymond Queneau, whose flipbook consists of ten sonnets, in which corresponding lines can replace each other without altering the rhyme scheme or the lyric sense of any sonnet, thus permitting ten trillion possible variants. An insomniac, reading one poem per second nonstop, requires about 316,900 years to complete such a work. A single Rubik's cube, however, provides more than 43 quintillion permutations (albeit many nonsensical), and when we take into account all 27 cubes, this number increases by a Brobdingnagian factor. An immortal, reading one page per second nonstop, might begin this book at the Big Bang, yet never hope to finish the text before the expiry of the universe itself. The book is perhaps more like a gizmo than a codex; however, the work does suggest that, no matter what its form, a book can still become a folding rhizome of unlimited dimension.
An online and physical survey/group show of text-based physical artworks by TheVERSEverse in partnership with L'Avant Galerie and Librairie Métamorphoses.
This is Part 2 of an exhibition. Part 1 "Poème Objkt", a conversation between poetry and the visual arts brought to life through the liminal play of the physical and the digital, opened in October 2022 at L’Avant Galerie Vossen.
2023 Crypto Art Award Shortlist, The Lumen Prize.