15 Jul 2023 12:00 AM | Susan Viguers (Administrator)

As I endeavor "to think what I am doing" (thank you Hannah Arendt). 

6. In 2008 OEI published a special issue on the "aesthetics of editing”: “trying to reflect upon every possible aspect of the editorial work, from the commission of a text, or the appropriation of a selected document, to the editing of this text or document, the montage of texts and images, the choice of specific fonts or a certain paper, and the different degrees of collectivity involved in the work, in this specific space of tensions and unresolved questions that constitutes an editorial office.”[6] I consider how to make room for the “space of tensions and unresolved questions” in the task in front of me. Accepting that some questions are unanswerable.

7. A quick google search for "aesthetics of editing" returns primarily film and video production, a smattering of literary editing. I find little exploration of this specific comprisal of activities that is artbookmaking, when one is both editor and designer (in addition to perhaps printer, binder, publisher, possibly many other roles . . .). Similarly, White's book Editing by Design presumes that the editor and the designer will be different people; the book's aim is to ease a collaborative process between different individuals and even different departments, not explore this singular yet multi-faceted process of being designer-editor / editor-designer[7]. I am pleased when google offers an article by Ramia Mazé entitled Bookmaking as Critical and Feminist Practice of Design, highly relevant to my interests, but it explores bookmaking as a team-based process, and not this more autonomous venture I face at my desk. While Codish and I are collaborating on this book, it is very different from what Mazé describes[8]. Codish shares remarkable material from her archives, lists of people to interview, and enormously helpful feedback, suggestions, and moral support. I couldn’t make this book without her. But our roles aren’t codified. She is not sitting here every day, driving the mouse, nor discussing the choice of this and not that.

8. This and not that. How to visually represent an idea, or an emphatic point in the story? Grönberg has described her picture editing approach as “the visual material could make a proposal, or propose an argument, in a different way than a theoretical essay or another form of writing, but with the same intention to contribute to a way of conceptualizing an issue, a question, or a problem. Given of course, that the viewer/reader is willing to engage in looking at the images and reading the documents: to give them time.”[9] I consider this as I place scans of textual documents in the book file; how to encourage they are read rather than flipped past? When does it make sense to show the original document, and when does it make sense to typeset it anew? I had thought that my answer would be that when the form is important to the content, when it was carefully considered in the original, it should be scanned. Yet an ‘undesigned’ typewritten page has specificity and materiality. It is a loss of contextual, historic information to typeset it anew. On one hand: is all information equally important? Surely not? On the other: might my default be to show documents in their entirety, and only content that had no visual textual form (i.e., transcriptions from audio and video) be newly designed for the book?

9. On Father's Day I visit my parents.  My mom is a quilter; both of my parents are avid gardeners. We play rummy. I realize that all these activities (quilting, gardening, rummy) are forms of editing: rearrangement of what is there, to achieve a desired outcome. Of course, in quilting, you seek out other fabrics to work with your stash; in gardening you identify what will function and flourish and accordingly transplant; in rummy, you draw cards to build your hand. In my work, as I cut out shapes and arrange the pieces and make relationships, I also identify absences, possibly needs. I wonder which might benefit from being left open as space.


1.Jonas (J) Magnusson, “Editing OEI,”, accessed June 15, 2023.

2.Jan V. White, Editing By Design (New York: R.R. Bowker Company, 1982).

3.Ramia Mazé, Bookmaking as Critical and Feminist Practice of Design (Aalto University, Finland)., accessed June 17, 2023

4.Cecilia Grönberg, “Image Editing OEI,”, accessed June 15, 2023


Emily Larned has been publishing as an artistic practice since 1993. She is an Associate Professor of Graphic design at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Emily is currently working on a book with feminist activist K.D. Codish, former director of the “non-traditional” New Haven Police Academy.

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