FIRST REPORT

This Report from the Gutenberg Galaxy is the first in a series of publications to be released in connection with the exhibition project The Gutenberg Galaxy at Blaker (2013–2015). The report is based on the project’s pilot show z(oo)m + – books in motion (Blaker gml. meieri, June 1–16 2013).

The Gutenberg Galaxy at Blaker takes as its point of departure the so-called archive of the artist Guttorm Guttormsgaard, a collection of tens of thousands of objects he has collected with the intention of “documenting necessary impulses to keep one’s spirits up.” The archive is located in a former dairy in Blaker, a village 40 km northeast of Oslo.

Coincidentally, Guttorm Guttormsgaard shares initials with the Gutenberg Galaxy, Marshall McLuhan’s designation for the era of print’s hegemony as a medium of storage and transmission. This is a remarkable coincidence because Guttormsgaard has referred to the printed book as a model for his own artistic practice, because he over a period of several decades has excelled as an original maker of books, and because his archive includes a very rich collection of printed matter and printing equipment.

The title The Gutenberg Galaxy at Blaker refers to these riches, while alluding to the fact that new media have displaced the Gutenberg technologies from their previous centrality in our culture (Blaker is a small village at a peripheral location).

This development has, however, created new environments where books may function in new ways. Such an insight informs McLuhan’s own books, which he continued to produce despite his proclamation that the Gutenberg era was a closed chapter.

How can we reimagine the book today, its pasts and prospective futures?

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