Index Card is a book about books with a free book to download.

Index card 012 - Books about books
Design as Art by Bruno Munari

The best thing about books happens when you're not reading. For me, it's meeting people that share my obsession. I met some of my best friends in book clubs and creative writing workshops. Thanks to books, I've met and collaborated with artists I admire; last year, I added to Errant Press's catalog one of the artists that inspire me the most: Catalina Kobelt. In one of our Instagram convos, she mentioned Bruno Munari's influence on her work. She specifically suggested: "Design as Art" and "How are objects born?." They instantly became a reference in my everyday artistic practice.

Design as Art by Bruno Munari collects fifty classes that approach different areas of design with a revolutionary thinker's sharp eye.

"Today it has become necessary to demolish the myth of the 'star' artist who only produces masterpieces for a small group of ultra-intelligent people. It must be understood that as long as art stands aside from the problems of life it will only interest a very few people."

The democratization of art and the suggestion of object art, object poetry, etc., are just a couple of the brilliant ideas the Milanese artist captured in one of his most celebrated books.

Munari's short essays helped me approach Catalina's work with new eyes and expanded some of my limits regarding art. I think this book will capture the eyes of graphic designers, illustrators, book artists, and creative minds.

︎︎ Read Design as Art

Index card 011 - Books about books
Anarchism and edition as a political project by Mauricio Gómez

Anarchism has been getting a lot of lousy fame in recent years. Anyone dressed in black, with their face covered, protesting will be called an “anarchist” even when only a few people identify as one. Traditional media has been trying to relate the words “Anarchism” and “terrorism” frighteningly. And yes, some people, those who are discontent about economic issues, homelessness, social security, lack of helpful health programs, etc., think that violence is an effective way to pressure the government, but I can hardly see how this relates to Anarchism. According to David Graeber, Anarchists are “simply people who believe human beings are capable of behaving in a reasonable fashion without having to be forced to.” This idea collides with the usual notion of chaos and lack of organization related to Anarchism.

And what does it has to do with books? Some of the most important Anarchist values like autonomy, decentralization, and self-education relate closely to books and their power. Why are all the academic papers locked with a price for an investigation that has been already paid for? How can essential books survive in an editorial industry governed by bestsellers and a market economy? Shouldn’t books help us create a more fair and equal world? The answers to these questions are widely explored in this brilliant essay by Mauricio Gómez. Aside from the critic of the current editorial issues, Mauricio opens the door to new kinds of projects: Tumbona Ediciones in Mexico, Open Humanities Press in the US, and Traficantes de Sueños from Spain, as an example of possible models outside the current industry.

Anarchism and edition as a political project are sixty pages of pure delight; and the reminder of something obvious: knowledge should be free, for all, no strings attached.

The free edition I’m sharing is in Spanish, but I’m hoping I can find someone who helps me translate it into English, someone who, like me, believes that other realities are not only possible but in the tips of our fingers.

︎︎ Read Anarchism and edition as a political project

Index card 010 - Books about books
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

As a kid, I used to open the toaster or the alarm clock to understand how they worked. I was curious about the "magic" that needed to happen inside for something to do what is supposed to. As a storyteller, I am also curious about the books I read. I like dissecting them, separating their parts, and figuring out the magic. In my search, I have found some fantastic books like Vladimir Propp's Story Morphology or Gaston Bachelard's different books on Poetics. But there's a book that goes deeper behind structure and theory and shows us how our DNA is part of the stories we read. From the Iliad to Star Wars, from Aztec god Quetzalcoatl to Nordic god Odin, all stories follow the same path: the hero's journey.

Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces is a detailed approximation of the hero's journey. It examines different myths, religions, and stories and contrasts them. In the end, Campbell discovers that every story told is identical and follows a straightforward structure of seventeen stages.

Even though the idea behind the monomyth is elementary, The Hero with a Thousand Faces demands a lot from its readers. The first time I started it, I left it unfinished. After a couple of months, I went back and finished it: it instantly became one of the essential reference books for my artistic practice. Today, my copy is filled with side notes, folded pages, and coffee stains. Almost every week, I go to it in search of a reference or a clear explanation of a specific part of the hero's journey. I use the monomyth to design my work as a storyteller, and it has become a common question in my book clubs (can you identify the hero's journey?).

I recommend this book to writers, artists, or literary scholars. And promise that the reward after finishing it is more significant than expected.

︎︎ Read The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Index card 009 - Books about books
The New Art of Making Books by Ulises Carrión

What is a book? Most people may think of the rectangular-shaped objects made from pages we usually hold in our hands to read. But the answer gets more complex looking back to the past when books appeared on scrolls, songs, or even people.

Mexican artist Ulises Carrión started his career as a story writer. After publishing his second book, he abandoned his writing career and left Mexico. During his Europe years, he opened Other Books and So, the first library/archive of artist books. As a conceptual artist, Carrion explored books' with a new perspective that widened the possibilities and pushed the limits of books themselves. Ironically he wrote a traditional book to share this vision with his audience.

The New Art of Making Books has become a cult book for artists around the globe and influenced tons of emerging artists into exploring book borders. Carrion's The New Art of Making Books greatly influenced me and is one of the main reasons Errant Press exists today.

The document I'm sharing is an open edition, meaning anyone can copy it, create their edition and share it freely. If you are an educator, teacher, or work with artists, please share this book if you haven't already.

︎︎ Read The New Art of Making Books

A book can also exist as an autonomous and self-sufficient form, including perhaps a text that emphasizes that form, a text that is an organic part of that form: here begins the new art of making books. (Ulises Carrion)

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