Friday, March 16, 2012

A.S. Guthrie, Broken Records: 1960-1969, Hong Kong, ed. 500, 2007

A quirky, humorous and smart publication that comes as a double-sided boxed accordion with reproductions of all the 10 45rpm vinyl recordings that form the subjects of this artists' book on one side, and writings about each record on the reverse. Guthrie includes 4 levels of texts for all these records: recording information, a summary of historical events for each year, musings about the record, its authors/singers and history, and a more general discursive section that reflects on the larger cultural moment of these pop records.  

Here's how Andrew Guthrie summarizes this project on the back of the box, "10 random 45s. The Lesser Knowns 1960-1969. Chart toppers and those that missed. An alternative take on the historical record. What's left over after you sweep-up. What you come across in record bins in obscure parts of any country after everything else has been purchased. A personal take on the 1960s, as exemplified by what one has at hand: ten 45s, one for each year of the 1960s chosen for the corner they occupied and now occupy in Pop history. American and British records of no specific style or character that nevertheless tells us something about a time and a place."

Andrew Guthrie is an artist, curator and a part time lecturer at the Hong Kong Art School and with this book he's produced a really fascinating hybrid publication that combines social/political history, personal reflection, and conjecture all spun together in a pomo remix. Priced at $13 this is a must buy for anyone interested in alternative histories of music, offbeat artists' books and aficionados of accordion publications! Individual pages 8.25" x 8.25", extended 6' 10.5"

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