Andrew A. McLaren
DCLXVI: A Second Treatise on the Number of the Beast

A. A. McLaren’s latest publish-and-be-damned bookwork, DCLXVI, a second treatise on the Number of the Beast (666) is a variable edition; this 180 page assemblage of geometry, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, Reductio ad Hitlerum, and art historical interventions follows the artist’s earlier APPROX DCLXVI (2008). Both are hand-assembled, cerlox-bound volumes, including laminated, collaged and variably printed pages. A series of graphic arrangements of 666 units are reconfigured from the earlier book; postage stamps, theatre tickets, butterflies, carbon paper and fabric elements are incorporated. These disparate material and graphic imprints developed a paginated order by intuitive, rational, and even structural necessity in the binding. As in APPROX DCLXVI, the principal literary content is a (new) series of 666 anagrams, based on Revelations 13:18: “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six Hundred Three Score and Six.”  These range broadly in their intent, content and poetic structures.

The Occult in literature has a well-bastardized tradition. Faust’s story exemplified ‘hack’ literature for centuries, in hundreds of cliché-ridden versions; in deconstructing the Number of the Beast I follow a similar bastardized meme, more often associated with Metal bands and Fundamentalist folklore. DCLXVI is a production ‘cut from more than one cloth;’ with a consistency (or lack of) appropriate to its ‘Beastliness.’ A certain balance of parody and subversive or transgressive themes are characteristic of the horror and pulp genres that invoke 666; also appropriate in DCLXVI, as ‘bad art.’ The limitless possibilities in ‘a bad thing, badly done,’ are corollary to the idealism (eg. apophenia) projecting a ‘higher’ or ‘hidden’ significance upon otherwise arbitrary things and situations.  It is not a work meant to instill hostility or negativity as the theme might suggest; absurdity is more prevalent.

ABotM seal of approval

Self published
ISBN 978-0-9686647-6-6
21.9×19.0 cm, 180 pages, hybrid cerlox/wire; gilded laminate cover, 2009
Edition of 190

Available from the artist.

About Andrew McLaren:

I have been a self-publisher for over ten years, producing short editions of 100-200 books in perfect- and folio-bound formats, more recently using a cerlox (comb) binder, allowing a more mixed-media approach to contents. As a multidisciplinary artist I have also undertaken significant research and experimentation in Cartography, and am currently developing a sequel or sequels to my 2004 book, The Atlas of Nowhere.

After undergraduate studies at the Byam Shaw School (London UK) during the 1980s, followed by a BFA at NSCAD (1994), I maintained a studio-based practice in Halifax with several Canada Council and NS Dept. of Tourism and Culture grants, including funding to publish two of my books. In 2006-2009 I resided in Calgary where I completed my MFA at the University of Calgary (2008) and further residencies in Banff and Calgary’s Art Central (2009).

A recurrent aspect of my practice has derived from numeric structures; more specifically using numbers of particular significance, as in the calendar-structures of  Time Machines + Paragogic Almanac (2001), or Annual Report (2006), which refer in large measure to the numbers 365 and 366, and related quantities. Another sense of quantitative production developed for me in creating three sizeable editions of hand-made (cerlox) books while in Calgary. The seriality of making 100- 200 laminated improvisations of a repeated assemblage became a very constructive, meditative practice, developing new techniques using many different materials-at-hand.  The thematic rationales of response and continuity in producing these quasi-literary, collaged assemblages—in terms of content—became all the more extended when the production of 200 copies required 2-3 days work, or more. I feel far more engaged with the overall design of a book, as a fully hands-on production, rather than sending a professionally output export file to the printer.