When I first saw the latest addition to our artists’ book collection, I thought “Now I’ve seen everything!”

A completely blank book?
A completely blank book?

All the pages are blank! As we have seen before on this blog, artists’ books come in all shapes and sizes. We even hold a copy of the world’s largest magazine issue. So anything is possible.

But then I saw the small accessory that accompanies the book – an ultraviolet flashlight!

The plot thickens...
The plot thickens…

The book is titled 2013 and was created by Justin James Reed. It was printed using UV-spectrum inkjet printer ink in a limited edition of 100 copies, and published by Horses Think Press. It was selected as a “best photobook” of 2012 by the British Journal of Photography.

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View the book in a darkened room using the flashlight, and the content appears. A recent reviewer noted the theatricality of the “gestures required of the reader to illuminate the pages and to reveal the images, which begin to take on life and even volume. The time required by the process of perceiving each page is part of the intentional transformation of the passive viewer into an active agent, and the image into material to be discovered.”¹  Viewings of the book as performances have been held at the New York Art Book Fair, and at the Photobook Slam held as part of C/O Berlin Book Days on May 26, 2012. The Berlin performance was captured on video and can be viewed here.

Come visit the Archives and Special Collections and create your own personal performance of 2013.

¹Giannetti, Claudia. “2013,” PhotoBook Review 003 (supplement to Aperture Fall 2012), p. 21.

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