Investigating forms of presentation of the Artist’ Book.

The book on the table. /// The closed archives. /// The book in a box. /// The open archives. ///
The book on the shelves. /// The book underfoot. /// The book on the ground.
/// The book in an intimate space. /// The book as installation. /// The book in a working space. ///
The book as an object to walk around. /// The book as a concept for a space.


participant: Startel [# 06]


THE MEANING OF LIFE / [in]visible project

It was the Wednesday night of March 13th 2002 that Jan Starken and Mark Schotel (STARTEL) concluded that the central theme in their works had to be the fascination for life in all its forms of appearance. They already were busy working on diverge projects wherein their total fascination for life appeared.

read more.hide content.

They worked together with the Institute of Human Genetics (University of Amsterdam) and in this way in 1996 for instance a ‘new’ gen in them was demonstrated. They breeded thousands of blowflies and experimented with blood in several installations. They argued that this fascination also would concern for daily life. Thus they decided that this must have ongoing consequences and the concept for a picture diary was born: THE MEANING OF LIFE.
They were looking for a fast form in which they could daily add their personal contributions for this document. It became the size of a sheet of a notepad, 10 x 10 cms. A week later, March 21st 2002, they produced the first parts of THE MEANING OF LIFE. Next to their ‘large’ projects up til now no day has passed without practising this discipline.

THE MEANING OF LIFE is a personal document, a loose-leaf picture diary because presentation of the Artists’ Book is problematic. It is a unique copy that shouldn’t be touched for preference. In the Verbeke Foundation the complete MEANING OF LIFE (then about 4700 parts) has been showed in 2009 in 45 show-cases. This was the first time that this ‘growing-book’ could be watched in total. It was a unique situation that stopped with the finishing of the exhibition. The whole series was hidden again for the public by then.

With this presentation in the Archief Synergie’s rooms all separate parts will be spread out over the whole space and they permanently will be actualized. Open to everybody, loose in space, life in all its vulnerability: THE MEANING OF LIFE.

More information: