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Gumming Up The Works

Gumming Up The Works

Gumming Up The Works presents the third instalment of Joanne Lee’s occasional publishing venture, Pam Flett Press. Exploring the nature of chewing gum, the publication teases out the gum’s cultural significance and reflects upon mastication as an artistic process. Based upon an hour long performance reading, a recording of which is available via soundcloud, the publication functions as a companion reader to the audio work.

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Jo’s unique narrative style is a central part of her practice, enabling her to engage with audiences in both academic and non-academic contexts – especially with a subject that often teeters on the repulsive. Writing in a manner akin to speech, with continual meanderings, tangents and associated stories, her texts make use of extensive footnotes - marking out references and providing additional paths of anecdote and fact. Her audio essay contained over 10,000 words of notes, warranting a publication in their own right. Working with dust Pam formed the footnotes into a companion reader.

To provide cohesion across the two formats our treatment of the footnotes was intended to replicate the pace of the audio piece – with physical gaps between notes relative to the timings of the reference points in the recording.

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Alongside her extensive written research Jo had photographed hundreds of occasions of chewing gum in its final resting place – a sticky residue punctuating pavements and tarmac. A selection of ten of these photographs were produced as prints and inserted throughout the publication at regular five minute reflecting the average amount of time it takes for chewing gum to lose its flavour.

Unwrapped, chewed and spat out once the flavor fades our design was informed by the colours and wrapping of sickly sweet bubblegum. The accent colour of the print alludes to the artificial pink of fresh unwrapped gum and its faded residue in the mouth whilst the foil ­blocked cover echoes the toothy edge of silver gum wrappers. 

Gumming 4
Gumming Up Crop
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