Susan Johanknecht and Katharine Meynell have a longstanding collaborative practice making artists’ books together under the aegis of the Gefn Press and more recently, the Boundary Street Press. ‘Notes & colophon’ documents the material processes, research journeys and ideas that formed our artists’ book ‘Poetry of Unknown Words.’
Our sense of ‘unknown’ addresses the library, archive and feminist notions of hidden from history. In Poetry of Unknown Words we are making a series of transcriptions using an expanded sense of authorship and relationship with others through time. In working in this manner our methodology disrupts the single authorial voice, it is fragmented and partial, destabilising borders of subjectivity.
Poetry of Unknown Words is a collaborative experiment, a feminising response
and consideration of Iliadz’s Poésie de Mots Inconnus (1949) investigating connections between notation and movement, sound and text. As Kate Eichhorn says in ‘The Archival Turn in Feminism’ the archive is not a place to recover the past but “...to engage with some of the legacies, epistemes and traumas pressing down on the present.”
Here, our interest is in the artefact rather than the signifying text/image alone, giving us the opportunity to understand historical context through material means – choreographing movement through the folding of the page – a tenderness towards the object.
A collective work by Susan Johanknecht & Katharine Meynell, referencing gardeners, painters, sculptors, designers, scientists, writers, herbalists, choreographers, singers –
HD, Emmy HENNINGS, Gertrude STEIN, Valerie SOLANAS, Mary WOLLSTONECRAFT, Barbara HEPWORTH, Eileen GRAY, Ethel Mary CHARLES, Lucie RIE, Harriet HOSMER, Constance SPRY, Pamela SCHWERDT & Sybille KREUTZBERGER, Maude GRIEVE, Beatrix POTTER, Clara PEETERS, Dorothy Crowfoot HODGKIN, Elizabeth FRIEDLANDER, Mary SOMERVILLE, Hanya HOLM, Janice JOPLIN.