Inscribing what the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas might call espace vital (the space we can survive), Ouvert Oeuvre: Openings (2023) is an exploration of openings in a (never quite) post-COVID world. Written by poet, performer and cultural theorist Adeena Karasick and visualized by designer/author and vis lit creator Warren Lehrer, both the title poem and “Touching in the Wake of the Virus” track the trepidations and celebrations of openings read through socioeconomic, geographic and bodily space.
Both poems explore a range of intralingual etymologies laced with post-consumerist and erotic language, theoretical discourse, philosophical and kabbalistic aphorisms. They foreground language and book-space as organisms of hope – highlighting the concept of opening and touching as an ever-swirling palimpsest of spectral voices, textures, whispers and codes transported through passion, politics and pleasure as we negotiate loss and light.
In this first collaborative book, Lehrer choreographs Karasick’s words on the stage of the page through typographic compositions that give form to the emotional, metaphorical, historical and sonic underpinnings of the texts. Together, the writing and visuals engage the reader to become an active participant in the experience/performance of the work. The book also comes with a soundtrack recording (via QR code) of Karasick reading the poems with music composed and performed by Grammy award-winning composer and trumpet player, Sir Frank London.
Produced in a smyth-sewn, three-colour foil stamped, three-piece hardcover binding, printed on acid-free paper, Ouvert Oeuvre: Openings bridges the gap between art book and trade publication that will speak to lovers of poetry, philosophy, art, design, new media, performance, and anyone trying to navigate opening and touching in the wake of pandemics and other mass maladies.
Ouvert Oeuvre: Openings can be purchased from most online booksellers.
– Courtesy Lavender Ink