In the spirit of collaboration, North Dakota Quarterly is pleased to share in the excitement surrounding the release of Micah Bloom’s Codex from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota.
Micah Bloom’s Codex examines the fate of books in the aftermath of the 2011 Minot flood. It is an ambitious project that flows across a wide range of media (digital text, video, archival and limited edition hardcover, trade paperback, and installation), embraces a range of archaeological and media sensibilities, and speaks simultaneously to universal and profoundly local experience of books.
Codex is available as a free, expanded, color digital download and as a low-cost trade paperback. Both versions bring together Bloom’s haunting imagines with nine essays exploring our own engagement with physical books, the history of the book, and the events surrounding the 2011 flood in Minot, North Dakota.
The creator of this project, Micah Bloom describes the origins of this project like this:
“When I was a child, my parents instilled in me a reverence and respect for books. Books couldn’t be stepped on, sat on, or abused, because they contained something mysterious and powerful, beyond their mere, physical composition: wood fibers and ink. In a magical way, they were carriers of that which was irreplaceable; they housed an intellect, a unique soul. In our home, books were elevated in the hierarchy of objects; in their nature, deemed closer to humans than furniture, knick knacks, clothing, etc. It was these early sentiments that took hold of me when I first encountered the Codex books.”
“While riding my bike to work each day, dodging debris from the recent Minot flood (and sometimes not dodging and getting flat tires), I came upon these books: out in the open, exposed to the elements, battered by wind and rain. They hung in the trees and were strewn across the landscape. Because of my upbringing, I couldn’t ignore them, and they pulled me into telling their story: a story of necessity, loss, neglect, obsolescence, progress, privilege, excess, ignorance, and valediction.
I’ve now spent over a year with these books: spring, summer, winter, fall, night, day, wind, rain, dust, snow, dew, nests, eggs, webs, sprouts, sticks, leaves, bulldozers, trains, trucks, duck weed, worms, spiders, birds, muskrats . . .”
The book contains essays from David Haeselin and Sheila Liming, both of whom serve on the editorial board of North Dakota Quarterly. The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota is directed by William Caraher who serves on the NDQ board.