Service: A Trilogy on Colonization
By Martha Rosler
New York: Printed Matter, 2008
Dimensions: 8 in x 5 in
Binding: perfect bound
Process: offset print
Edition size: 1050
Providing art as a service to others or thinking about this as a way to destabilize the commodity-function of art has been formative for Temporary Services and Half Letter Press. Martha Rosler has been a pioneer is so many ways that have impacted contemporary art practice. This is just one of them. There is no way we could miss offering this publication in our growing catalog. It was recently reprinted by the tireless folks at Printed Matter.
They describe the book thusly:
A reprint of the 70s classic. "A Budding Gourmet", "McTowers Maid," and "Tijuana Maid": three short novels address the social uses of food (the third told in both Spanish and English). Originally a mail art project, the stories were serialized and sent to potential readers on postcards. References: Johanna Drucker, The century of artists' books, 1995. Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, Esthétique du livre d'artiste, 1960-1980. Robert C. Morgan, "Systemic books by artists," Artists' books: a critical anthology and sourcebook.
And if all this doesn't convince you... here is Rosler's introduction to the book:
A Note on One Aspect of Form
This is a book of three novels and one translation. In their original form the novels were sent through the mail as postcard series, one card about every five to seven days.
Mail both is and isn't a personal communication. But whether welcome or unwelcome, it thrusts itself upon you, so to speak, and must be dealt with in the context of your own life. Its immediacy may allow its message to penetrate the usual bounds of your attention. A serial communication can hook you, engaging your long-term interest (intermittently, at least). There was a lot of time and mental space around each installment of these novels, time in which the communication could unfold and reverberate. So, they are long novels, and slow ones...
Martha Rosler, August, 1976