Tuesday, July 20, 2010

These Here Separated to See How They Standing Alone or the Soundtracks of Six Films By Stephanie Barber

Yesterday I received the proof for the reprint of Stephanie Barber's book/DVD project called These Here Separated to See How They Standing Alone or the Soundtracks of Six Films By Stephanie Barber -- or as I refer to it around the house, "These Here Separated." (Official page.)

What's with that title?

It refers to the text that Barber wrote for six of her experimental films (actually, 3 are 16mm and 3 are DV), and how that text has been lifted out of the movies and placed onto the page. The dialog and narration reads as some sort of unclassifiable poetry. I had seen one of the films, "Catalog," several times and the story is so dense that I was barely able to wrap my head around it, and was never able to really talk about it. But reading the text along with the movie, and just reading the text, augmented it significantly.

From "Catalog":
We came to the house and opened the door. The ground was cement and the door was a heavy reddish-brown wood. There were tiny words carved on that part of the door which scraped along the ground—-giving clues to visitors, the future, and a tilting brashness for those who were aware. Those who wore eyes and were involved in the works of new historians who rely on the subtle messages of newsmen and other apostles. Inside this first room are the remnants of meals which are designed specifically for the kings of countries where alphabets have become modular. And the somber jesters who adorn them. The words worn by these few are sewn directly into the skins of the jesters and are embroidered with numbers from 4 to 12. With the number 8 appearing only on the soles of their feet. The kings at these dinners must wear bathing suits of thick fatty seal skin, for warmth and durability. And also, any kind of crown at all. A nod toward the humor of costuming—symbolism of immersion. In this way there is both order and a sense of ritual, as well as certain elements of individual desires
A DVD of the six films accompanies the book -- it's called These Now Reunited to See How They Standing With Each Other.

Stephanie Barber has had solo screenings internationally, including places like MoMA (NYC), Prague, San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center, Anthology Film Archives. She's a fave at the New York Film Festival. She won a Black Mariah award. The Chicago Reader said she has "one of the most original visions" in the diverse experimental film scene.

I think this book makes a lot of sense, because Barber is a poet, and sees her films as poetry.

This was the first perfect-bound book that PG released, back in 2008. It is also the first book that made money, which it did very quickly in spite of the $20 price tag (obviously, printing a DVD and a book is expensive). It sold out very quickly, yet it's taken me a while to get it reprinted.

It was worth the wait, though. As I said at the beginning of this post, yesterday I received the new proof. We did a complete redesign of the book. From:


to:


We had a fail along the way, too, and had to go back to the drawing board. We just weren't happy with the old new design after we got the first proof back, even though we had included a lot of neat features, like text that ran across the back of the book to the front, and then kept going into the inside of the cover and across the first page of the book. It was a neat trick, but not perfect.

With this version, which features artwork by Peter Barrickman (great link, take a look), a painter from Milwaukee, we had trouble deciding where to put the barcode. Stephanie got daring, and I think it looks great like this. I just right now scanned it with my "Shop Savvy" app and it comes up correctly, so that's good. Also, apparently you can get a copy at Sears for $18.95.

Also, for the first time, we worked with the printer to use special endpapers. This was something Stephanie requested when we put the book out back in '08, but the printer couldn't do it and I thought it would be too expensive anyway. It actually did not add much to the cost at all.

I also insisted on cream paper this time, and it makes a big difference.

Working with Mira, the printer, has been great this time around. They've been really patient as I make a million different changes, and now they're working hard to get copies back to me before Stephanie's upcoming screenings at Anthology (on July 31 -- check it out if you're in NYC).

The DVD will be affixed to the back cover. It has a cool design, too:
(You have to imagine it the way a DVD looks, eg. not square, because this image includes printer bleeds.)

Additionally, the menu on the DVD includes the same movie theater theme from the cover. So this is a comprehensive package. All for one in their separation.

It's nice, I think, how much small presses interact with movies. For instance, Michael and Luca's 60 Writers/60 Places, and When You Think of It, from Notnostrums, which features poets like Heather Christle, Zachary Schomburg, Matthew Zapruder (and my favorite on that video is Emily Toder in the water). I hope to see more like this, and I'm proud that PG has an offering that actually, literally, goes "off the page." I often wonder if all the different media cross over enough.

I love how Barber's work is less crossover and more is. It isn't like poetry, it is poetry.

From "The Inversion, Transcription, Evening Track and Attractor," this final piece in the book:
that little hussy Gisele Freund sees photos as vulnerable pawns in the hands of dirty industrialists they seem also pawns in the being of dialectics itself poor Benjamin poor Derrida

i am not kidding around any more

i remind myself i can feel sad and by “sad” i mean “pleasure” the decadence of this is astounding and i construct a brief image in my mind of a pile of bills burning on a grassy lawn then i am dismayed at the ephemeral nature of such an image then i become embarrassed at the implications of my capitalistic understanding of the effectiveness of sanity and how tired one becomes of such rationalism

i like to imagine the photographs of teenagers talking to the photographs of teenagers
Please pre-order These Here Separated. The pre-order price for the book/DVD is $14, shipping included. This offer lasts until it comes in from the printer, probably in two weeks. It will be shipped then, and the price will go up to $20.



Shipping Location



If you have any questions, like "I bought the original version. Can I get a discount on this new-and-improved one?" (yes, of course) email me at adam at publishinggenius dot com. Or if you want a review copy, or to interview Stephanie, email me. I am unspeakably excited about this one.

From "Dogs," which features two dogs talking:
Spike: I think about James Brown, or anybody—anybody
who’s made great art as a proof of exaltation and understanding.

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