Portfolio » Book Works » sillis book works 2009-11

The Sequential Imaging Laboratory/Laboratoire d’imagerie séquenciel (sillis) was formed in 2007 when David Morrish, Pierre LeBlanc and myself were awarded a multi-year Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research/Creation Grant for our project Creating the visual book through integration of the divergent technologies of photogravure and digital processes. This section of the website documents the work that I have done in conjunction with this project.

Documentation of the technological results of this research are available here:

Creating the visual book through integration of the divergent technologies of photogravure and digital processes

In 2007, David Morrish and Pierre LeBlanc (co-applicants) and myself as, principal applicant, were awarded a multi-year Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research/Creation Grant in the amount of $146,000 for this collaborative initiative. We completed the project in March 2011.

This project started with two questions. If an artist selects specific media as their visual language, what effect does this have on decision making during the creation of artwork? What is the impact of combining analogue and digital technologies? To address these questions, we explored how historical photographic and contemporary digital tools could be used in tandem. This research gave us the opportunity to share expertise while creating individual work.

During the course of the project, we created book works and other forms of sequential imagery using a combination of printmaking, photography and digital imaging. We gave this very broad challenge a starting point by defining a research focus; the making of colour separation photogravures using digital technologies as an integral tool. We were successful in achieving this specific objective.

In addition, each team member considered the implications of the new knowledge from an individual perspective. As the project evolved each of us discovered unexpected and personalized applications, changing how we make works on paper and create book forms and resulting in new imagery and content. Expansion of our knowledge base in relevant digital and printing technologies allows us to keep both up-to-date and to experiment with forms of divergent print technologies relevant to our future creative work and has a significant impact on our teaching. Undergraduate and post-graduate students have been involved along the way making this a valuable learning experience for others as well.

The research has clarified that the use of digital tools in conjunction with analogue processes results in output that is still analogue in nature, but with the benefit of being able to personalize the default surface of the digital output. In other words, the creation of physical objects remains within the realm of analogue. Another unexpected result includes a new technological investigation into the use of photopolymer as an alternative to copper in making photogravures.

We have been able to disseminate our findings and work with colleagues from other parts of Canada, the US, and UK, sometimes inviting them here to work directly with us. This has led to international collaborations with other book artists and book arts centers and the potential of new research direction aimed at the creation of an alternative artists’ publishing system. We have found that there is significant interest in using digital tools in conjunction with historical processes as way to expand upon the potential of the technologies and also as a means to maintain the contemporary viability of traditional ways of making.