Multifold Iterations: Letterpress Printing as Critical Practice

By Megan O'Connell.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Why use production methods as ‘outmoded’ as movable type and relief presses? Why retain the analogue, when there exists an array of digital processes to exploit? The model I present introduces makers to the vitality of letterpress printing and examines language and its representation. I focus on the possibilities offered up for the book vis-à-vis the philosophy of deconstruction. In the process, I discover that meaning is not fixed, text is mutable and essentialist assumptions are denied. Building texts from the ground up, so to speak, is an act that utilizes both kinaesthetic and critical means. The book becomes a hybrid object, bridging tradition and experimentation, concept and vehicle.

Keywords: Letterpress Printing, Pedagogy, Critical Practice, Translation, Collaboration

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.207-212. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 828.224KB).

Prof. Megan O'Connell

Visiting Associate Professor, Art Department, Maine College of Art, Orono, Maine, USA

The Dead Skin Press maps viable yet impossible spaces on pages, objects and walls. Produces limited edition books, broadsides, ephemera, tabletures and site-specific installations. Presswork is found in the collections of MoMA, Walker Art Center, The Ruth & Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Biblioteca Wittockiana [Brussels], amongst others. The press is currently printing a limited edition monograph by award-winning British author, Charles Nicholl, on Elizabethan poet Matthew Roydon. Megan O’Connell was a presenter at TypeCon2006 in Boston, speaking on “Principled Pleasure: Presswork in PDX”. She has been invited to Die Graphische [Vienna] Fall, 2008 as a visiting artist/designer. She is a member of AIGA and ATypI, a contributor to and a founding member of Creative Material Group. After serving for twelve years as Director of the Typography Lab at the University of Oregon, she has recently relocated to the East Coast. She now offers courses in Critical Issues at Maine College of Art and typographic workshops in the United States and Europe.

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