eyes to eyes – Review of Cover to Cover


Snow, M. (2001). Michael Snow Cover to Cover. London: Black Dog Publishing.

The meaning of the cover to cover can directly point the starting point of the movement, but also it can be interpreted as a two different dimension of the eyes meet other eyes. In this book, there is no distinction between the human and object existence, but only various types of the eyes meet each other from the opposite direction. There is a repetition of the two main difference and crisscross. First of all, two main difference is represented as an opposition and difference set in between the door, camera and typewriter. That boundary also can be explained as a medium. Between the boundaries ( I want to call it as a frame ) Snow skilfully covered the main viewer and remained only eyes.

The first repetition is very explanatory narratives ( it is not narratives but two different positions difference. The camera is represented as a signifier of the eyes. And the two viewers gradually became a flat medium; one is the photograph, and the other is white paper. Unlike next repetition, it leads the longer story. It is maybe he wanted to make a connection between the photographer, photo and paper ( like this photographic book ). In the middle, suddenly the timeline crisscross. I believe this is a deliberate choice to show this two ( photograph with white backside and white paper ) are the same position and clarify the time flow.

Second repetition followed by the figure: Circles and colour. Start from artist’s head with the shadowed light and LP recorder claiming that the position of that two objects is playing in same horizontal line. From the beginning to the end, it maintained changing figure by adjusting the shadow. End with a black shadow to open up to the third part. The Third repetition changed the order of the reading. Not only the reading flow but the movement of the camera also toward opposite direction; Lest page is to the left and right page is to the right side. However, the actual direction of the view is moving to encounter. It is another intentional choice of the building’s inside and outside. First and Second followed traditional western style reading; left to right. This time right page moves on first. The left page is showing outside of the building, more specifically, showing outside of the window. All the movement is coming back to the start point of the second repetition.

The fourth repetition is a movement of the frame itself. The entire page includes with the left page, and right page move to left and right side starts another beginning of the repetition. This time this book page itself becomes the boundary. There is another movement which is produced by camera’s frame. The eye of the frame moves toward the top and finally going back to the first repetition which was two different inside and outside. The Fifth repetition changes the eyes direction from the front and back to the left for right page and right for left page. This time two different eyes exposed in the paper book frame. But they never meet each other. It changed point of view again. Mainly, when he wanted to change the perspective, he uses three objects; paper ( by moving to the outside of the frame or put inside of the frame, by directly expose the two cameras toward each other, by covering the entire frame with the objects. By presenting entirely covered white colour, guides the viewers to move on to the next movement. Also, when he changes the perspective, he represents the aspect of the movement. For example, direction of the capturing the photographic by exposing the camera ( from back and front to the top and the bottom, to inside and from outside), opposite movement of left and right page ( left and right, top and bottom )

Although two perspectives look like performed at the same time or at least simultaneously, many evidence shows those two are the different dimensions. For instance, in the first repetition, the doors are different doors, in second repetition there is no evidence that two space where picturing inside of the house and outside the house is same space. Furthermore, in the last repetition, the artist taking up the photo book inside of the page upside down. Which is representing or making a distance between the reader and the picture. Because photo can be signified past image which is already performed and happened. But, viewers seeing the photo book through the photo book. This intentional distinction reformulates the dimension of the viewing which was limited inside of the page and exposing another aspect of the time, perspective and movement.

End of the page is the same photo with the front book cover, all extracted in One last back cover. Now viewers restart this book from the behind and retrace entire story. However, interestingly, this book is not making an interesting point by backward reading ( as Japanese style ). It became a dull reverse moving image. It is not even creating any narratives including the last page ( which points to the front cover page ). He wonderfully arranged all different perspectives and all the diverse movement. Unfortunately, it is bounded and limited by book format. In a medium of the book point of view, when the medium is fully finished, as Marshall McLuhan said, the medium itself becomes the content. The last destination complete when the medium performs as its medium should be. This concept raises a question that the formational finishing should define its content? As I suggested in my previous essay, I claimed configuration is one of the features of the frame, which maintain the visibilities and concrete the image of the object. On the other hand, I also tried to explore by deforming and creating a “becoming”, as Deleuze suggests (Deleuze, 1987). He claimed that becoming is an “in-volution”, which is not a regression but creating or hybridising new form by establishing a new connection between two elements.

He also argued only “becoming” is a creative activity. Start with the realisation of the point and evaluate the lines of both sides. Visualisation is the activity which makes invisible to visible. If we follow Deleuze’s idea, the feature of the visibility; both of the frames must be rifted to exposure the inner elements. However, another question arises. How can show the cracks and new creation? Deleuze suggested two ways of the formulation, which is repetition and difference. By doing it, newly leaked out Chaos of the images concrete in a subtle and firm frame; the frame which corresponds with Deleuze’s repetition.


Snow, M. (2001). Michael Snow Cover to Cover. London: Black Dog Publishing.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1987) A Thousand Plateaus.

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