Jo Hamill, Gutter Words, an artist's book produced in partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture International and Leeds Beckett University, 2019. Photography: Ricky Adam

Jo Hamill, Gutter Words

Jo Hamill is Course Director for Graphic Design at Leeds Beckett University and has made a new work exploring the sculptural space of language.

Softback in an edition of 500
197 x 127mm, 956 pages

To order copies of Gutter Words contact
Cornerhouse Publications, HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN
+44 (0)161 212 3466 / 3468,

Working with an edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Hamill systematically obliterated the words of Joyce but carefully retained those words positioned closest to the gutter – the technical term used to describe the central margin of a bound page. The retained fragments form two extended columns that continue for 933 pages.

Notable here is how design and typographic terminology is so entrenched in bodily references. Header, footer, body-copy, the arm of a ‘K’, the crotch of a ‘Y’, the foot of a ‘T’, the ear of a ‘G’, the shoulder of an ‘R’ and so on. As is the architectural scaffolding of Joyce’s schema which underpins the structure of Ulysses, kidney, genitals, heart, lungs, oesophagus, brain, blood, ear. etc. Lawrence Weiner refers to language as material for construction, the act of deletion in Gutter Words exposes the architectural scaffolding that holds words in place. Voids are physical spaces to be read and words become unanchored, set adrift in an uncertain space. The architectural qualities of this physical space will be exposed, Gutter Words is devoid of the accoutrements associated with a ‘book’ such as cover, boards, end papers, dust jacket and will retain only the innards, an unprotected text block.

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