Preserve, Renew, Invent [Light Bytes]: The Aphoristic Statement and the Future of the Book

By Lesley Kaiser.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic Free Download

Eric McLuhan interviewed in Signs of the Times: The History of Writing (Goëss Video, 1996) suggests that ‘The future of the book is the aphoristic statement.’ An aphorism is a short statement that communicates an insight or truth about the world (and can sometimes function as a guide to action). Aphoristic knowledge has traditionally been transmitted through texts and through libraries. The new potential for the dissemination and archiving of wisdom from past thinkers is explored in this practice-based research project. Various modes of re-circulating aphoristic texts are brought into play using media such as moving image, projection on to urban screens, artists’ books, archival digital photography and glazed ceramics. In line with a methodology of ‘viral inhabitation’, the texts inhabit a number of public sites - sites that have tended to become saturated by commercial interests. Preserve, Renew, Invent [Light Bytes] is an artist-initiated series of works situated in the interdisciplinary context of artists’ books and contemporary text art.

Keywords: Artists' Books, Aphorisms, Maxims, Memes, Visual Art, Ceramics, Digital Publishing, Design, Culture, Philosophy, Sociology, Urban Screens, Text and Moving Image, Concrete Poetry, Aesthetics, Semiotics, Typography, Bookworks, Buddhism

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.125-132. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.073MB).

Lesley Kaiser

Senior Lecturer, School of Art & Design, Faculty of Design & Creative Technologies, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand

Lesley Kaiser is an artist, who teaches in the School of Art and Design at AUT University. Her work has involved exhibiting in a number of sites e.g. urban screens, TV, newspapers, art galleries, and multi-media events. Her current research, Preserve, Renew, Invent [Light Bytes], is an ongoing local and international art project that involves text animations. Published projects, often in collaboration with John Barnett, include a number of artists’ books, The Naughty Nineties pop-up book (1982), and a study of joking culture in NZ, The Penguin Book of NZ Jokes (1996). Group exhibitions include Art Now - The First Biennial Review of Contemporary Art at the Museum of New Zealand (1994). The artist's website is at


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