news | Wednesday October 1, 2014

Sneak a Peek: Un/Inhabited by Jordan Abel at the Vancouver Art Book Fair

Jordan Abel, whose first collection of poetry, The Place of Scraps, won the Dorothy Livesay Prize, will debut his next book this coming weekend at the Vancouver Art Book Fair.

Abel constructed the source text of Un/inhabited by compiling 91 complete western novels found on the website Project Gutenberg, an online archive of public domain works. He then searched the document in its totality for words that relate to the political and social aspects of land, territory, and ownership. Each search query represents a study in context (How was this word deployed? What surrounded it? What is left over once that word is removed?) that accumulates toward a representation of the public domain as a discoverable and inhabitable body of land. Featuring a text by independent curator Kathleen Ritter – the first piece of scholarship on Abel’s work – Un/inhabited reminds us of the power of language as material and invites us to reflect on what is present when we see nothing.

Un/inhabited is a co-publication of Project Space Press and Talonbooks. A limited number of first editions will be available from Abel at his performance, Q&A session, and book signing on Sunday, October 5, 2014 (see the Vancouver Art Book Fair website for event details) and from Project Space Press. The trade paperback edition will be available from Talonbooks in early 2015 as part of Talon’s Spring 2015 season.

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