“The book invites us to consider an ongoing tension as we navigate a world of politics and appearance, racism and immigration, self and other.” —Jennifer González
What does it mean to be documented or undocumented? How do these terms work across borders and boundaries, languages and nations?
DOC/UNDOC was first published as a multimedia, interactive artists' book that was exhibited in galleries, museums and fine art libraries in California, across the country and around the world. Over the course of a seven-year collaboration, American book artist and publisher Felicia Rice joined forces with Mexican performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, art historian/critic Jennifer González, video artist Gustavo Vazquez and sound artist Zachary Watkins. The result was a stunning work of book art, staggering in its complexity.
Questioning what it means to be “documented” or “undocumented," blurring the borders between genres and media to create a uniquely hybrid work of art, the project combined 19th-century print technology with 21st-century digital typography; performance art and poetry; video and sound art; Old World traditions of the Cabinet of Curiosities with New World Mexican and Chicano traditions of altar making. DOC/UNDOC gained quick acclaim, traveling on exhibition across the globe: from the International Codex Fair in California, to South Africa, Guadalajara, and more.
The letterpress codex at the heart of DOC/UNDOC features performance scripts that draw on MacArthur Genius Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s experience as an immigrant and his ruminations on the political, geographic, social and psychological borders separating the United States and Mexico. Award-winning book artist Felicia Rice incorporated these scripts/rants/poems into her own sketches, type treatments, and letterpress techniques to create a series of enigmatic, multilayered, double-page prints. In order to achieve the lush, seemingly multidimensional effect of these page spreads, each sheet of paper was run through Rice's Vandercook printing press over one hundred times for each color(up to 3,000 times total!) as Felicia masterfully layered on the type, ink, and imagery.
Praise for DOC/UNDOC
"The book reaches beyond its authors to embrace anyone who might pass by (or through) its reach. Its inclusive nature renounces boundaries, and suggests a kind of limitless progression rather than a discreet, intimate utterance. This may have resulted in a trade-off of intimacy for community, but we are left with a book that wants to hold the reader, the way readers ordinarily hold a book." -- Gary Young, Book Club of California
"Felicia Rice is one of the most exemplary book artists in the United States. Her collaborations with Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Enrique Chagoya have transcended every tradition and formal expectation that we have concerning the book as a work of art. Her new collaboration with Gómez-Peña, DOC/UNDOC, is a brilliant exposition of the best of two worlds—art and political action."—Peter Rutledge Koch, The Codex Foundation
The journey of DOC/UNDOC continues as we translate the exhibition project into a widely accessible, affordable book that not only documents the original project, but also provides a reader with their own interactive, immersive experience. City Lights Books and Moving Parts Press are collaborating to produce a trade paperback LIMITED EDITION of DOC/UNDOC, which will include reproductions of the page-spreads from the original codex, along with documentation and explanation of the contents of the Cabinet of Curiosities. Also included is an Introduction by Felicia Rice that tells the story of the collaboration from its conception to completion. In addition, art historian/critic Jennifer Gonzalez's essay explains the historical, artistic and political context in which this piece was conceived. And with your help, we will also include the original video and sound art to provide the reader with a fully interactive, immersive experience.
Our plan is to include a mini-USB drive containing the project's original video and sound art in each copy of the trade paperback book. This will provide readers the opportunity to engage with the multimedia experience of DOC/UNDOC.
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, is known for its commitment to progressive politics and avant garde literature. From its beginnings as the publisher of Allen Ginsberg's landmark, controversial book, Howl & Other Poems, to the voices of contemporary renegade artists and authors, City Lights has earned its reputation as a defender of free speech and a champion of cutting-edge literary works. In 2001, City Lights Bookstore was designated an official historic landmark by the City of San Francisco for "playing a seminal role in the literary and cultural development of San Francisco and the nation".
For the first time in City Lights history, we're inviting YOU to be a part of our publishing process. With your help, DOC/UNDOC will be published in an edition that includes its multimedia aspect, in a format and at a price that makes the project easily accessible to all. Help us tell the story of DOC/UNDOC, and continue our tradition of giving a voice to marginalized identities!
In these times of America's demonization of immigrants and persecution of those who are undocumented, we are committed to doing our part to recognize and support the beauty and extraordinary resilience of immigrant identity. We believe that art, poetry and literature are powerful means of communicating and validating our shared human experience.
A lavish presentation of a unique, multimedia, border-crossing hybrid: the book as performance art.
This is a SPECIAL EDITION, trade paperback publication of DOC/UNDOC. The first edition print run will only consist of 2,000 copies. Get the book while you can!
-96 pages of lush artwork
-Artbook paperback format
-12.5 x 9in, full-color printing on high-quality coated paper
Below is the hand-set typographical treatment of "Tired of Walking North", a sample of the performance texts embedded in the letterpress images of DOC/UNDOC:
As a “Thank You” for your support, we’d like to offer you:
- A PDF containing notes, proof of concept sketches, and other documents from the intensive creative process behind DOC/UNDOC. See this project come to life firsthand!
- A signed copy of DOC/UNDOC! Be the first to get you hands on this limited-edition print run of DOC/UNDOC with a copy signed by Felicia Rice herself.
- A Thank-You postcard featuring unique art from Felicia Rice, specifically designed for this project. Each individual postcard has been personally created by Felicia using a letterpress!
- A scanned illustration from Doc/Undoc, delivered straight to your email inbox!
- A visit to Felicia's studio! You and a friend and invited to Felicia's bookmaking studio in Santa Cruz, CA for a tour: learn about the process of creating DOC/UNDOC, book printing, and more of Felicia's work*.
- A VIP Ticket to the DOC/UNDOC launch party in San Francisco, CA this fall! Get a chance to view the full DOC/UNDOC interactive exhibit in person and before the general public. In addition, you'll have a chance to speak with Felicia personally about the project*.
- *Travel costs not included
Your donation will go directly towards: the cost of producing USBs for each copy of DOC/UNDOC, USB printing, campaign planning, and shipping costs.
Thank you so much for your support!
About City Lights Publishers
Founded in 1955, with nearly 200 books in print, City Lights Publishers produces cutting-edge fiction, poetry, memoirs, literary translations and books on vital social and political issues. For over fifty years, City Lights has been a champion of progressive thinking, fighting against the forces of conservatism and censorship. We are committed to publishing works of social responsibility, and to maintaining a tradition of bringing renegade literature from other parts of the world into English.
About Moving Parts Press
Moving Parts Press has published handsome and innovative artists’ books, broadsides and prints under the direction of Felicia Rice since 1977. These editions of new literature, works in translation, and contemporary art explore the relationship of word and image, typography and the visual arts, the fine arts and popular culture. Work from the Press has been included in exhibitions both nationally and internationally, from AIGA Annual Book Shows in New York and Frankfurt to the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Risks and challenges
Between City Lights Publishers and Moving Parts Press, this project is in very capable hands and presents minimal risk. Doc/Undoc has already been drafted and is set for publication in November. All we ask is your support for the additional funds needed to include the auditory/video aspects of the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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