Open Space and Closed Format

Although the poems are decidedly open, the strength of Open Space was the fact that it was actually the expression of a closed system.  This San Francisco mimeo, which ran for 15 issue in 1964, emanated from the tight-knit Spicer Circle.  Stan Persky may have edited Open Space, but, like Reggie Jackson with the Yankees, Spicer was the straw that stirred the drink.  Geographically, the community of Open Space was bounded by the city limits of San Francisco, with New York City being beyond a horizon that could not be transgressed.

Yet for me, the best thing about Open Space is how it pushed against the boundaries of mimeography as a medium.  Mimeography is largely a closed format.  The restrictions of the medium and the desire to print quickly encourage standardization and simplicity in production.  Persky created Open Space by exploring those limits.  Persky incorporated collage, painting, newspaper formats, standard typewriter stencil work, and elaborate illustrated covers using a variety of techniques including remarkable use of the stylus or stencil cutter.

Like J or My Own Mag, Open Space expands what is possible in mimeo and brings mimeography into the realm of art.


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