Clean vs Dirty Mimeo

The first image is a page from da levy's Tibetan Stroboscope.  The second is a page from Issue Twelve of Jeff Nuttall's My Own Mag.  These images suggest the differing styles of two master mimeographers.  levy often manipulating the inking in the mimeo process for dramatic effect.  Called dirty mimeo, such effects draw attention to the topics such as censorship and illegibility, showing how that which is obscured or unreadable is often labeled as obscene.

Given Nuttall's interest in the cut-up technique, it comes as no surprise that he would use many different forms of cutting in his mimeograph work.  Here Nuttall cuts his page to free the horizontal structure of standard text into diagonals.  levy also utilized the cut, such as in collaging snatches of text in a way much like Nuttall's manner here.  levy would cut and paste, whereas Nuttall would merely cut. 

For Nuttall the key to maximizing the possibilities of mimeo consisted in careful attention to the cutting of the stencil.  Nuttall approached his stencils like a draftsman or illustrator, carefully cutting and laying out an intricate page design, much like a newspaper or magazine art director.  This went hand in hand with William Burroughs' cut-up experiments featured in My Own Mag. 

By and large, in My Own Mag, Nuttall did not experiment with manipulating the inking or over/re-printing his pages in the manner sometimes favored by levy.  Nuttall's much rarer use of destructive mimeo consisted of cutting, burning, or staining the page.  Nuttall desired his mimeo inking above all to be legible.  As a result, his mimeo could be considered clean mimeo as opposed to levy's dirty style. 



Post a Comment