The only truth to be found in a book is its physicality. We generally apprehend them through reading. We interpret and analyse their text, seeking the ideas contained within. The book, as a form, is an institution which conveys affirmation on the ideas it mediates and offers them for mass consumption. We trust this institution to be the repository of enlightened discourse. Yet, as subjects we debate what it offers us. We are aware or the vicissitudes of culture and context. We consider the book as text and debate how it should be understood, how it is understood, if it is understood correctly, if it is understandable at all. Paradoxically, the book is a communicative tool that is intended for the mass consumption of ideas that ultimately renders them indeterminate, or so it would seem.
Sach Catts seeks to understand the book not as indefinite text but as ultimate physicality. For this exhibition he will submit a selection of seminal texts to a tensile strength test, a common materials engineering investigation, in which copies of three seminal works of Western nonfiction will be loaded in tension to the point of breaking. The load at which the books fail will be recorded. Catts is seeking what can ultimately be empirically known of a book, not the strength of its argument but its strength.
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