Curator's Talk: Dr Lisa Godson 'Manual: being useful'
- 25 November 2021
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios presents Dublin Art Book Fair 2021: Manual (DABF21), the eleventh edition of Ireland’s only art book fair, sponsored by Henry J Lyons. Taking place both online and on-site, the gallery in the heart of Dublin’s Cultural Quarter transforms into a centre for art and artist books.
Dublin Art Book Fair champions artists and creative, small and independent publishers, Irish and international, with books on art, design, visual culture, philosophy, architecture, select fiction and poetry. With an unprecedented quality of submissions for the Artist Book Section received this year, you can look forward to a particularly strong representation of books made by artists.
Guest curated by cultural historian Dr Lisa Godson, her theme, Manual, considers forms of publication, printed matter and books made to provide guidance, instruction and understanding. Programme Leader of the MA Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design, Godson is interested in themes of Manual and its usefulness to contemporary creative practice and methodology. Featuring talks, tours, workshops and book launches, Godson considers visual culture of the everyday and how information is materialised. Her programme brings a focus to stories of Manual employed as a tool around social change and justice, as well as reflecting on the materiality of the book, the shape of words and the habit of reading.
Highlights from this year’s DABF events programme include Dr Lisa Godson’s in-person keynote at the DABF launch exploring how everyday material cultures compel us to navigate the world in particular ways and how manuals – taken here to mean particular forms of instruction – have materialised particular ways of knowing how, as well as knowing that. Johanna Drucker’s live online talk on the physical aspects of the written world and habits of reading. Community activist Dr Michael Barron’s live online talk making the case that manualising social change processes is urgent, increases transparency and trust, and is fundamental in supporting democracy in uncertain times. The in-person publication launch of You Have Not Yet Been Defeated. Selected Works 2011-2021 by Alaa Abdelfattah, one of Egypt’s longest imprisoned political activists, including recorded and live readings by writers Naomi Klein and Ahdaf Soueif, poet Seán Hewitt and sociologist-activist Ronit Lentin as well as a discussion between Annie Fletcher, director of IMMA, and Hussein Omar, historian of political ideas. An array of workshops led by: TBG+S studio artists, Eleanor McCaughey, Richard Proffitt, Ann Maria Healy and Eimear Walshe; TBG+S Commissioned Writer Nicole Flattery; and architect James Horan joined by Miriam Fitzpatrick and Banbha McCann from Henry J Lyons. A walking tour with Typography Ireland and screening of How to make a book with Steidl at the Irish Architecture Foundation brings Dublin Art Book Fair into connection with the City. Book launches of: Orla Whelan’s Matter Mammal Oil Soar; A Manual for Rematerialisation with Nathan O’Donnell, Sarah Pierce, Lisa Godson and participants in the NCAD/IMMA Creative Futures Academy’s module Time-Travel: Rematerialising the Past in Place; ‘States of Entanglement: Data In the Irish Landscape’ authored and edited by ANNEX, the curators of Entanglement, the Irish Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale 2021; and 'Shavasana – a not so final resting pose' by Jan Verwoert.
DABF is celebrated for how it embraces art practice publishing, artist-run culture, and participatory events with specialist themes at the intersection of art, design and contemporary culture. Within a friendly and engaging atmosphere of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, you can find such a range of exceptional and hard to find books to delight in. Purchase an Artist Book, as a collector item, or join in the many varied and stimulating events from the political to the poetic by participating artists, activists, writers, thinkers and others at this year’s DABF.
Dr Lisa Godson is Dublin Art Book Fair Guest Curator 2021. A cultural historian, Godson is Programme Leader of the MA Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design. Her theme for DABF, Manual, draws attention to the dual nature of books as material objects with a stable physicality and as the repositories of content that can be experienced and understood in multiple registers. With an aligned programme of talks, tours, workshops and launches, Godson considers visual culture of the everyday, how information is materialised and how artists use typography.