One of my knowledgeable readers (Jack Ginsburg) has alerted me to the fact that Joshua Heller has a wonderful interactive web site about the Second Encyclopedia of Tlön (see my last post). It comes up automatically when you go to the Joshua Heller Rare Books web site. Once the page that shows the full encyclopedia has loaded, click on ‘The Books’ link that is in the black banner. The set of volumes will suddenly appear in a fanned-out line and if you mouse over one of the volumes it begins to pull out from the ‘shelf’ at which point you can click on it to bring it forward. Clicking again will open up a window with a description and several page spreads from that volume (use the “Instructions” link to find out more on how to navigate). The pages shown on Heller’s site are often different from those on the Encyclopedia’s own site (accessible by clicking the images in my last post) so between the two, you can get a nice sense of the contents.
The more I explore the opus, the more I realize how much it is not just a conceptual and visual encyclopedia, but also an encyclopedic experiment in all sorts of different image-making techniques. Printing on everything from creamy handmade paper to phone book pages, using everything from offset printing to wood-type letterpress, the books use overprinting, negative image printing, collage, digital image manipulation, text-as-image, and more to create the wide-ranging stylistic interpretations that makes up the Encyclopedia.