VAS : an opera in flatland

gareth's picture

This post is a recommendation for the book VAS : AN OPERA INN FLATLAND - written by Steve Tomasula and designed by Stephen Farrell. Each page individually designed.

Very beautiful piece of fine art.

whoisdan's picture

VAS, regardless of what your end opinion of the book is, is worth $50. It's not a book that you're supposed to read page by page. It's more like a meandering. It's pretty cool, but I'm sure a lot of people get ticked off by the fact that is anything but typical. If I had one word to describe it I'd use *insane*.

Tomasula doesn't follow a genre, he does "writing as a contemporary/conceptual art form." Check out his &NOW Writing Festival from last year. I won't take credit for that stylin' logo.

This is an interesting post because Tomasula works at Notre Dame, where I went to school, and I did a project for him when I was a student. Currently, my former professor and I are working on the next Tomasula book, entitled The Book of Portraiture. We just started (reading) so I don't really know what it's going to look like. It does start with the origin of handwriting, so I think I'll be asking some questions here in the next couple months. I don't imagine it being of the magnitude of VAS, as it's a different publisher and the budget is *quite* different...

Chris Rugen's picture

So, from a narrative point of view, how's the book? The description is...vague. Or, rather, what's the content of the book? It looks fascinating and I'm up always up for experimental stuff, but I don't like digging through concept to find nothing underneath.

whoisdan's picture

"I haven't read the whole thing," said Dan with a hint of embarrassment.

I don't have $50 and only possessed it for a day or two, so, I don't know how its literature holds up. I can't say I dig the &NOW stuff 100% and the idea of "doing something just to do it" (kills me), but Tomasula's reputation is pretty solid. And I don't think Farrell would wrap art/design like that around a pile of crap. Also, if you like when characters' names are the names of shapes then you're sitting pretty.

Additionally, Design Observer .com lists it as a "book they recommend." I imagine that's where Tiffany got her link?

Also of note is that Amazon has the book in soft-cover now. I haven't seen that version, but the hard-cover is quite impressive.

Other links:

gareth's picture

Tiffany Wardle : I purchased the paperback version due to difficulties ordering the cloth cover. But I am thinking of purchasing the cloth cover so I can treat this copy with contempt and error, and I am a poor student.

Personally, I fell in love with the idea of a novel being constructed visually from a typographers translation and relationship with the author.

I do think it reads well. But I may be more tolerant towards the design than others. But even if someone did not enjoy the read, I think it worth populating any collection.

Chris Rugen : Steve Tomasula is not infamous for his ability to write empty literature.

This link may help define VAS more for you. As I have only just started reading the book.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Gareth, have you seen it in person? I'd be curious if it is worth buying only the $50.00 version. Does it read well, or does one feel like they are in a book-form of a David Carson dream? Do you think that version is still something worth collecting?

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