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AMBruno's new book project for 2021 is Volume. The brief sent out in the call for proposals invited 'new book works made in response to Volume in terms of one, or a combination of these definitions: (i) a book forming part of a work or series; (ii) the amount of space that a substance or object occupies; and (iii) the quantity or power of sound'. (Project brief by John McDowall.)

Poet, novelist and translator Richard Price made a selection from the (anonymised) submissions.

The nine artists are: Egidija Čiricaitė, Judy Goldhill, Julie Johnstone, Philip Lee, Linda Parr, Peter Rapp, Anne Rook, Tim Shore, and Cally Trench.


Grey Matter  - Egidija Čiricaitė

Egidija Čiricaitė - Grey Matter

Egidija Čiricaitė - Grey Matter

Eigengrau is a German term that translates into English as dark light or brain grey. It refers to the uniform grey that people see as the absence of light. Unlike the eyes of many other animals, our eyes are not built for night vision. When the sun goes down, we cannot distinguish colours anymore. Our world turns eigengrau. Translated from German, the term means "own grey".

Grey matter is significantly lighter than the dark light of eigengrau. It is not even grey, but it is tinted in the pink-grey hue of the neural and glial cells. However, like eigengrau its colour is deceptive: under the shroud of the word "grey", our grey matter contains every colour of the world - a boundless volume of images, sensations, emotions, sounds, and smells tinted in our "own grey". What hue is your grey?

Size 29 x 20 cm. Digital print on light semi translucent paper. A grey-finder insert on white Somerset strip. Edition 50. £30

PRESENT  - Judy Goldhill

Judy Goldhill - PRESENT

Judy Goldhill - PRESENT

My father died when I was one, leaving me with no memory of him at all. This book, whilst referencing him, is based on recalled and imagined spaces. A version of the house that we carry with us throughout our lives; the blueprint of our very first home. It is a kind of 'future ghost house'.

This is notionally a three-part set of books, though only one is actually present. The empty spaces in the slipcase/stair structure signify absence in all its many iterations. The softback flip book, with its two-way opening, contains strong memories, musings and dreams in moonlight, including the only home my architect father designed for a client before he died from the last pandemic of this country, polio.

Book - laser-printed pages onto Mohawk Eggshell White 148gsm. Laser-printed cover onto black bookcloth spine area. Foil blocked spine title. Case - waxed millboard. Text panel on screen print on perspex. Open edition. £145

barely audible | a book of quiet   - Julie Johnstone

Julie Johnstone - barely audible | a book of quiet

Julie Johnstone - barely audible | a book of quiet

0dB represents the threshold of human hearing. Sounds registering 10dB are classified as 'barely audible', a soundscape perceived as quiet. This book explores the 'volume' or 'substance' that is 'quiet'. A blank page or book is a container holding emptiness, lacking visual and aural noise. In the tradition of 'blank' books, the blankness occupies the page, giving the book its meaning both experientially and conceptually.

The book has eight facing and eight verso pages. Each facing page is blank. Every other verso contains a faintly visible phrase representing a sound given in decibel charts as 'barely audible': 'a breath', 'a pin dropping', 'a leaf falling', and finally, imagined for this book: 'a page gently turned'. The reader turns each page, becoming quieter in the process, meeting each phrase then an intervening blankness, witnessing their own quietened actions in the final phrase. The book contains quiet, is quiet, and induces quiet.

Printed inkjet on Bockingford watercolour 190gsm. Handbound. Size 12 x 37 cm. 20 pages. Open edition. £25

Eureka!   - Philip Lee

Philip Lee - Eureka!

Philip Lee - Eureka!

The ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Archimedes is said to have shouted 'Eureka!' when he discovered how to measure the volume of the king's crown. Archimedes needed to know its volume to determine its density. According to the legend, he jumped from his bathtub and ran naked through the streets after realising that the amount of water he displaced was equal to the volume of his body. The same process would allow him to measure the volume of the crown.

I measured the volume of my 63-year-old naked body using the same principle. I marked the water level in a bath, and then submerge myself while my assistant marked the new level. My attempt to calculate my volume is recorded in a handmade book, which includes four double-page spreads revealing the sequence of my re-enactment of Archimedes' 'Eureka!' moment.

Stab bound, noble pattern. Printed on 220gsm paper and double-sided glossy inkjet photograph paper, with self-adhesive rose gold vinyl and gold paper additions, and white ink handwritten on black 200gsm card. Size 25 x 15 cm. 10 pages. Signed and numbered. Edition 12. £25

Life A Listener’s Manual  - Linda Parr

Linda Parr - Life A Listener’s Manual

Linda Parr - Life A Listener's Manual

When we read, our minds automatically translate the written words into mental images, which come into focus through personal imagination and knowledge. Our processing is through visual association, which becomes our way of seeing. This physiological emphasis on the optical can lead to other parts of the message being side-lined.

Georges Perec wrote La vie mode d'emploi in 1978. It was translated from French into English by David Bellos and published as Life A User's Manual. Perec was a member of Oulipo; his work explored constrained writing techniques and this new book for AMBruno adds the constraint of Volume. The proposal for AMBruno Volume invites consideration of the quantity or power of sound. This concept provides an opportunity for an entirely new and different close reading of this classic book, allowing editing and retelling of the tale. It is now our ears that can hear and interpret character, plot and atmosphere.

Size 19 x 13 cm. 44 pages plus cover. Printed on Claro Bulk 150gsm [pages] and Claro Silk 350gsm [cover]. Creased covers. Perfect bound. Edition 20. £25

The Dead Seas Scroll  - Peter Rapp

Peter Rapp - The Dead Seas Scroll

Peter Rapp - The Dead Seas Scroll

volume (n.) "roll of parchment containing writing; a bound book". "bulk, mass, quantity".

"I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And the balls like pulses beat;
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
Lay dead like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet."

From The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

My book is in the form of a scroll, taking "volume" to mean "roll of parchment". This scroll is a reflection on the effects of human activity on the oceans: the treatment of the ocean as a commodifiable agricultural resource to be plundered and polluted rather than a natural habitat; and thermal expansion and melting ice from atmospheric warming causing sea level rises.

Relief print on cotton (70 x30 cm) bound on each end to wooden rods. Clamshell box (40 x 10 cm) from book cloth, board and Zerkall paper. Edition 12. £100

Volumusings  - Anne Rook

Anne Rook - Volumusings

Anne Rook - Volumusings

A prose poem in five pages and three drawings. Words assemble themselves on the page to follow the thoughts emerging while contemplating a half full glass in a 17th century painting. Positioned to reference the shape of the glass, the words ponder upon the enclosure of space that is a glass, the anticipation of a first drink and, with time, the later diminishing volume of wine and pleasure. And as words stumble and a glass empties, a relationship falters and a love ends. Three drawings echo the experience of sadness at the loss of more than wine.

Size 20.5 x 20.8 cm. 10 pages. Inkjet prints on Canson watercolour paper 200g and Canson watercolour paper 300g [cover]. Hand cut, glued binding. Edition 30. £35

Tidal - Tim Shore

Tim Shore - Tidal

Tim Shore - Tidal

The tidal volume is the amount of air we breathe in and out of our lungs. Tidal consists of two reverse-fold accordian books that are sewn back-to-back. The two volumes are labelled L (for left) and R (for right). Each book may be partially opened until the fold reaches its mechanical and material limit (inhale) and then returned to its flat state (exhale).

Tidal references the human lungs. Its limited capacity comments on the respiratory difficulties that people with the COVID-19 virus experience, and also the artificial ventilation which can be necessary to allow people to continue breathing.

Size 22.2 x 26.2 cm. Accordion fold, stitched, laser cut. G.F. Smith Colorplan Cobalt 135gsm & Natural 100gsm, Office Depot Pink paper 80gsm, single wall corrugated card. Edition 12. £60

VU Meter   - Cally Trench

Cally Trench - VU Meter

Cally Trench - VU Meter

Eight micro stories written by Cally Trench are accompanied by original drawings of a VU meter: an analogue device for measuring loudness, marked from -20 to +3 VU with the volume indicated by a needle pointer.

Each story culminates with a sentence or phrase that the reader is invited to speak at the appropriate volume. These spoken lines increase in volume from the start to the end of the book. At the end of the first story, you are invited to whisper "Cough sweet", and for the last you are invited to scream "NO!!!!!!"

Size 15 x 11.5 cm. Printed on watercolour paper. Card cover. Pointer drawn by hand in ink. Hand sewn. 20 pages. Signed and numbered. Edition of 20. £12

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