An Ideal for Living
Performance artist Alexandra Bachzetsis and designer Julia Born present a slender, highly distinctive book with an orange dust jacket that investigates the importance of gestures for social identities and gender roles. Although it was produced to accompany an exhibition and relates to a performance, it creates an impression of novelty by specifically adapting individual components of the work to the book medium. On thin pages telegrammatic stage directions run across the orange rectos in large letters, from top to bottom, while on the white versos short statements from participants in the drag-queen documentary Paris is Burning appear in a second, smaller typeface. On a different, high-gloss paper, full-bleed portraits of Bachzetsis’s performers in unconventional poses, each on a single or double page, alternate with somewhat smaller photographs of individual objects, some of which reappear in the hands or on the bodies of the performers. The simple interleaving of the pages weaves the two levels of text and two levels of images together into a dramaturgy of different voices and gestures. An introduction by gender philosopher Paul P. Preciado and a detailed colophon supply contextual information, while a long insert, folded over a number of times and with circular perforations, displays an automatic poem by Preciado.