Monday, February 24, 2014

Alison Knowles | Bean Rolls

Alison Knowles
Bean Rolls
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1964
7.9 x 8.4 x 8.4 cm.
Edition of 200

Designed by George Maciunas in 1963, a  four inch square cube contains seventeen tiny scrolls held closed with a small dental rubber band. On the scrolls are various mundane facts about beans, presented like an anonymous found poem. The work lists instances when beans are mentioned in songs, stories, science, cartoons, advertising, etc.  "I discover rare information about beans in libraries all over the world," Knowles told Ruud Janssen in 2007.

Knowles considers the work a "canned book" and it is sometimes cited as the first example, in the canon of artists' books, of a 'book object'. Actual beans are included, also, to produce a sound when the can is shaken.

Knowles used the Bean Rolls in performances, notably #12 from her Great Bear Pamphlet by Alison Knowles. (click here for the PDF):

Simultaneous Bean Reading (Autumn, 1964)
Using the Alison Knowles Bean Rolls* and six to eight performers, unroll the rolls over the audience and start reading aloud. Have the audience join in. A single performer goes among the other performers with scissors, cutting out large sections of the rolls. This performer deter- mines the length of the performance.

Premiered November 16th, 1964 at Cafe au Go Go, New York City.

Also included in Fluxkit, below.

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