REMAKING YOUR NEW IMAGE THROUGH COLOR & LINE
LES FIGUES PRESS / TERESA CARMODY
As a project of the Los Angeles Reanimation Library, I invited nine writers who play and have played key roles in the production of Les Figues Press books—as authors, designers, editors, curators, fundraisers, board members, interns and more—to join me in creating and publishing a reanimated version of Your New Image Through Color & Line. This 1981 book, written by Gerrie Pinckney and Marge Swenson (directors of the Fashion Academy in Southern California), recognized that “today’s woman is often juggling a career, family life, and involvement in home and community,” and that “if you look like a winner, becoming a winner is easier.” Our multi-day durational performance explored these issues from the perspective of “today’s busy image-maker” and included a planning session, two production sessions and a launch party. All sessions were advertised as performances and held during open gallery hours.
April 21, 2013, 1-3 pm; Planning: We discussed the primary questions facing us: Is a book like a body? If so, can we remake it as such? We decided on the book’s trim size and production structure. We drew lots and divided into five makeover stations: Hair, Makeup, Figure, Wardrobe, Personality. Each station included two artist/writers and each station chose two textual makeover tools (e.g., erasure, sonnetfication, text weaves). We divided the book’s fourteen chapters in order to make over each chapter simultaneously.
May 4, 2013, 12-5 pm; Production Day One: We began promptly at noon. Following a rigorous schedule programmed into Janice Lee’s computer, we allowed for a set number of minutes per chapter, with the length of time corresponding to the length of the chapter. We completed all fourteen chapters in five hours.
May 5, 2013, 12-5 pm; Production Day Two + Launch: We completed the paratextual materials: table of contents, index, cover. We decided how we would publish the book (as a portfolio) and how to organize our launch party (as a series of readings with a slide show of the complete digital book).
The performance explored issues in publishing as a textual practice. It was a consideration in materiality, a durational procedure, a chance to get to know someone, the beginning of a new collaboration. It was homosocial, a collective conjuring. Post-event, I invited each of the makeover artists to reflect on the experience; their comments can be found in an article on the Les Figues blog.