Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Book of Protest: WASTE INCANT, Janus Press

Claire Van Vliet's close friend and collaborator Susan Johanknecht has released a startling new 2007 book through Van Vliet's Janus Press. Titled WASTE INCANT, it's a page-by-page confrontation of the issue of nuclear waste -- specifically, nuclear waste that's being stored in plastic (yes, really) in our oceans and our landscapes.

To this end, the book arrives in a clear acrylic slipcase, 11.75 by 7.75 inches, about an inch in depth). A "petticoat" of flexible vinyl wraps the book within the case, and the covers and alternating pages are made of the same rippled vinyl, its swirls wavering like water as you page through the work.

Interleaved among the vinyl sheets are pages printed on Barcham Green Cambersand and Cairo; type was computer prepared by Ellen Dorn Levitt and printed by Andrew Miller-Brown, who also did the binding with metallic shiny strips that speak of aluminum and other technological "solutions" to waste storage.

On each printed page are wavering images drawn by Johanknecht from a children's textbook, Science from the Beginning (eds. B. L. Hampson and K. C. Evans, Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1962). Johanknecht's other resource for the format and materials is her earlier work Hermetic Waste, which she issued through Gefn Press in 1976.

She writes:

The collograph prints in Hermetic Waste were derived from alchemical engravings--here the calligraphic line drawings are derived from science illustrations... Redrawn and merging, the pictorial 'facts' depict a disrupted 'nature.' Poetic texts sit inside the imagery, functioning as an integrated caption. They describe processes by which toxic material enters into the environment. The back of each pages lists hazardous wastes.

She challenges the reader/holder of the book to search online using the keywords: nuclear waste storage in plastic.

The edition is limited to only 150 copies, numbered, with the twelve leaves printed in black and silver. We are honored to have one copy available for sale at $290 plus shipping.

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