Eclectic mix on the rocks

May 12, 2006

Ice Blink: An Antarctic Essay was published by Book Works in collaboration with The Arts Catalyst, £13.50

In Ice Blink: An Antarctic Essay , published last month, Simon Faithfull mixes Palm Pilot etches with blog-like diary entries, snapshots, scientific graphs, and childish scrawls reminiscent of Tristram Shandy.

The artists' book is the ideal format for Faithfull's spectacular project to record his journey on RSS Ernest Shackleton from RAF Brize Norton via Ascension Island and the Falklands.

Silly things such as a glass of gin and tonic chilled with million-year-old ice rub up against bleak excerpts from the diary of Admiral Bird, who accidentally got left behind on an expedition to Antartica - "this is the way the world will look to the last man before he dies".

Jane Rolo, director of Book Works, says: "There does seem to be a general increase in writers taking up artists' books. The literary model doesn't leave much room for things other than the short story or novel.

"Anything else goes into anthologies or just doesn't have a place. It's a more conventional market than ours and a lot of people in the literary world just don't get artists' books."

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