Fabulas Feminae contains two dozen profiles of famous women in a collaborative book project created by Susan Bee and Johanna Drucker. These two distinguished artists have combined their talents to produce a work that is contemporary in tone, a minor monumental tribute to a diverse gallery of heroic women from across history. The text was composed using a natural language-processing technique that samples a large corpus and compresses it algorithmically, mirroring the sampling techniques of collage practice in the visual images. Strikingly designed, with bold blocks of text that echo the graphic features in the imagery, the result is a fresh, engaging, and informative poetic work of historical and critical expression.
Praise for Fabulas Feminae
An homage to 25 legendary women through the centuries—from Susan B. Anthony to Susan Sontag, from Lizzie Borden to Lucille Ball—Fabulas Feminae is also a necessary intervention. When a famous life is over, the wild biography is often shaped to fit a tame narrative structure; Drucker and Bee use collage and algorithmic language processing to disrupt that pattern and make these lives wild again.
— Jena Osmon
Some day, one imagines, Susan Bee and Johanna Drucker will themselves appear as featured figures in a book like this one. For now, their revised martyrology presents a catalogue of some two-dozen new saints whose colorful lives appear in equally colorful spreads of condensed shaped text and eccentrically dispersed images. With their networked fields of iconic, schematic semiotics, these collaborations are fables of historiography itself. The result, predictably, is fabulous.
— Craig Dworkin
This book is a wonderful mixture of the scholarly, the feminist, the playful, and the girlish about fabulous women from his(her)story—queens, notorious assassins, novelists, sharp-shooters, divas, vanguard painters, suffragettes, comedic redheads, eccentric poets, visionary nuns, songstresses, saviors of their people by two fabulous feminists, artists and fabulists Susan Bee and Johanna Drucker. It will appeal to and inspire readers of all ages. Bee’s rich, sprightly, dense collages and Drucker’s sculptural text design are as interesting as art as the algorithmically dissociated but completely comprehensible and thrilling text.
— Mira Schor