Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Humming Humument

Readers of this blog will already know that I am a fan of the eminent British artist, Tom Phillips, perhaps the most outstanding example of an obsessive project-led artist alive on planet earth. Tom's long-standing (44 year) project to mine aleatory significance from that most unlikely but almost preposterously fruitful I-Ching -- the Victorian novel A Human Document by W.H. Mallock, chosen at random from a second-hand bookshop -- is already the stuff of legend. If you don't own a copy of at least one edition of A Humument, you don't know what you've been missing.

Now, incredibly, Tom has made A Humument available as an iPad app. Not having an iPad, or any prospect of owning one, I'll have to give this edition a miss (unless there's a way to view iPad content on a PC? Anyone know?). But what a great idea -- and cheap, too!

We salute you, sir. Long may you run.


Tom Phillips at 50 (1987)

4 comments:

Jack Nelson said...

Mike, if the book was done as a pdf or as an epub there are viewers that will display it on any computer. If however it was done as a self contained app, then I don't know if there is a way to view it.

Mike C. said...

Jack,

As far as I can see, it's quite a sophisticated app, not just a PDF. If anyone out there owns an iPad, I'd be interested to hear how you get on.

Mike

Levi Stahl said...

Tom Phillips also has a couple of new projects coming out this winter through the Bodleian Library: books drawn from his collection of postcards, Women and Hats and Readers, both of which focus on what you'd guess from their titles. (They're not, so far as I know, Idiotic hats, but still . . .

{I feel I should note that I'm a publicist at the University of Chicago Press, which handles the marketing and sales for Bodliean Library books in the States--but I probably would have left this note even if I weren't, because I figure these are likely to interest any Phillips fan.}

Mike C. said...

Levi,

Yes, I'd spotted those -- I'm pleased Tom has deposited his collection at the Bodleian, though as a cataloguer by trade my heart sinks at the thought of the task facing the library staff...

Tom is many enthusiasts rolled into one... His "Ashanti Weights" notebook facsimile is a nice buy, too -- the full "African Goldweights 1400-1900" tome was reviewed by David Attenborough in the TLS -- two heros in one go! Apparently they go shopping together for anthropological curios...

Mike