On Tuesday I took a trip over to the city of Southampton with a friend to do the standard array of exciting yokel in the big city things; book shops, galleries and so on. Apart from the Southampton City Gallery and the Bargate Gallery, both of which were fairly interesting but not very relevant to the project, I also went to the Offsite location of the Hansard Gallery, which had an excellent exhibition on called E Book Show, an exhbition of hand-made and self-published photobooks, some of which can be seen (shown in video form) here.
I regrettably did not have much time to dawdle in the exhibition, though I leafed through a good selection of the books, and the net result was a reignition of my interest, almost completely waned during Vectis, of binding books. I abandoned the physical act of making books, as a process of craft as opposed to one of design, during the last project for the simple reasons of cost-efficiency and time. I felt that I could accomplish Vectis best using the limitations of print-on-demand. The additional level of creative control that could come from printing and binding my own work, and the additional options this would give me to express ideas through the formal aspects of the book cannot, however, be permanently ignored. One of the possibilities for Utopia/Dystopia is to involve a blank book which can be used by the gallery audience; this book would have to be elaborately bound in a carefully considered way, even if the main book(s) are machine made.
It seems to me that, during the research phase, I should try and re-acquaint myself with the physical craft of book-binding. In my first phase of the masters program, I encountered the problem of a lack of directed focus; I produced many books as formal experiments that seemed to be sidelines, not at all connected with the main project. It should be possible to avoid this by linking all the books I make to the broad central theme of Utopia and Dystopia.