(!x==) Book 1 Volume 1
Blanc Press, 2011
776 pages / $50 Buy from Blanc Press
To be clear: (!x==) Book 1 Volume 1 is a reformatting of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The book itself, a conceptual work by .UNFO (a collaboration between Dan Richert and Harold Abramowitz) published by Blanc Press, acknowledges its source only obliquely. The publisher’s website simply tells us that this series “seeks to indexically lengthen the world’s most monumental texts through failed software operations”—that is, by filtering existing texts through the eponymous formula, redistributing chapters and paragraphs into chunks of approximately 33 syllables (rounded to the nearest whole word). On the book’s title page we find an innocuous url for a “0200601.txt” containing a (different) English translation of Mein Kampf archived by Project Gutenberg Australia. Indeed, the source text is apparent enough. We read the signature that follows the author’s forward, the table of contents, the recurring page header: MEIN KAMPF. It seems evasive, even disingenuous, certainly loaded, to characterize this project in such detached terms as a conceptual exercise, a “failed software operation”—the predictable imperfection, somehow poetic, of a system applied to lived reality. This instrumentalization maintains the willfully problematic stance that words are just words—stuff, material, to be shoveled around at will.