Jonathan Ball, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jay Millar: Ex Machina and the Creative Commons

1 August 2010

ryan fitzpatrick: EX POST: An Intervention

By publishing his book under a Creative Commons license, Jonathan Ball invites us to pay respect to his project by disrespecting it – by tearing it apart and reconfiguring it. Jon dares us to dance on his grave and consider his bones open for business. The problem is that, even if Jon is dead (he’s not), his ghost haunts his closed system of a book and, however nomadic we think we can be within its pages, we are still confined to the material bounded by the covers of the book. That is, unless we take action to intervene.

This proposal attempts this intervention, creating one possible method for supplementing the existing text. I have composed three prototype pages that hopefully open up the book machine by figuratively throwing a monkey wrench into it. Each of the three pages echo Jon’s original, though a reader less interested in fidelity could write pages that deviated further; the only rule might be to maintain Jon’s system of referring back to other pages.

Each of these pages is unnumbered with the intention of removing them from their current location, so that they might newly reside somewhere in Ex Machina as new pages. I propose that they become floating pages, much like the mysterious floating page of the BookThug-published Expeditions of a Chimaera by Erin Moure and Oana Avasilichioaei. This will give these pages a greater flexibility in affecting Jon’s text.

This opens up a number of possibilities. An enterprising reader could take my suggestion and add these pages to their copy of Ex Machina, but also choose to fix the pages as part of the book proper, numbering the pages with decimals or fractions. These pages could be glued over the originals. A reader might choose to write their own pages and insert them in any of these ways. Perhaps, a reader might begin changing individual lines or words (there are a number of ways to do this). Or, perhaps take a paper cutter to the spine, rearranging and rebinding the book.

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One Response to Jonathan Ball, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jay Millar: Ex Machina and the Creative Commons

  1. Pingback: Cordite Poetry Review: Ex Machina and the Creative Commons (with Remixes) – Jonathan Ball, PhD