According to Plan
by Rob Kovitz
670 pages | 5.875 x 8.25 in. | paperback
artists' books | experimental literature
worldwide distribution by Ingram
available from most online book retailers
according to plan
“Clearly, someone had to have a plan, an idea, a beginning …”
John McCabe, Stickleback
“What’s the plan?”
youtube.com, Battlestar Actors Lay Out the Plan
“Not, therefore, to raise expectation, but to repress it, I here lay before your Lordship the plan of my undertaking, that more may not be demanded than I intend; and that, before it is too far advanced to be thrown into a new method, I may be advertised of its defects or superfluities.”
Samuel Johnson, The Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language
Rob Kovitz’s latest super-cut bookwork, According to Plan, begins with an immoderate interest in the word “plan,” and every text selection includes the word “plan.” The result is a funny, disquieting, and thought-provoking exploration of the human obsession with making plans.
“In the development of these inquiries into the subject of Architectural Composition, the greatest amount of space has been given to the study of the plan. This method has been employed because it is believed to be in accord with the opinion of the foremost teachers of Architecture who place the study of the plan at the head of instruction both in theory and practice. In respect to this point of view the reader will note that my study of the subject has led me to a position considerably different from that which has been generally followed by other English and American writers who, while they have not neglected the plan, have at least relegated it to a comparatively subordinate position.”
Nathaniel Curtis, Architectural Composition
“I had come this far and waited long enough. I had a plan. It might get me into trouble, but it was my concern, my responsibility, and nobody else’s …”
Peter Plate, One Foot Off the Gutter
“I immediately understood that there was nothing I could do to stop him. His mind was made up, and rather than try to talk him out of it, I did what I could to make his plan as safe as possible. It was a decent plan, I said …”
Paul Auster, Moon Palace
Jehan Cousin and Jean Leclerc (engraver),
Livre de pourtraiture (Paris, 1608)
"… catalyzingly ingenious, brilliantly exhausting …"
"Kovitz's own plan might sound like a harrowingly narrow premise for a 664-page book, but this wonderfully odd and obsessive textual assemblage expands outward to encompass just about everything, from Hegelian world spirit to complicated cinematic bank heists to our own (mostly) futile attempts to arrange our lives …
"According to Plan ends up having its own suckerpunch power. Kovitz's bookwork might read at first like a clever collating exercise, but it soon becomes something bigger, stronger and stranger, something Quixotic (Cervantes' masterwork turns out to be one of the planny-est works in the Western canon) and just a bit crazy.
"And as Kovitz himself quotes, sometimes a plan 'is so crazy it just might work.' This one does."
"This thick paperback (664 pages) has promised plenty of interesting reading on an intriguing topic: plan. But reading into it, this reviewer could not understand author Rob Kovitz’s idea behind writing According to Plan or, for that matter, who the targeted readers would be."
"There does seem to be a gratuitous amount of adult content …"
"This style of book was completely foreign to me, and admittedly, a little overwhelming. Although there is structure to the book, each section laid out in chapters used the copying and pasting of quotes and unsettled my type-A personality—the part of my brain that was trying to fit this style into the traditional format of continuous words."
“So how come the 668 pages of According to Plan make for such an invigorating read? Perhaps because by the time you have read, skimmed, scanned and riffled all the way to the book's final section, "exit plan" (each appearance of the words "plan" or "planning" in the book is printed in bold face), it has become clear that not only have you sojourned sumptuously in the realm of Plan but that you have been inescapably privy to the author-compiler's outrageously omni-directional, omnivorous reading practice. Indeed, you feel you have walked every step of the way at his archival side, and you are likely to find yourself aghast at the method in his bibliophilic madness.”
"And what might the book tell us about our field, and the hopeful, limiting, optimistic, outdated, futile, and necessary habit of planning at its core? What insight might it contain about the best plans for an era of rippling change, one that can produce a wonderful book made of nothing but repurposed words and pictures? Perhaps not a single thing. Or, possibly, that, like Kovitz's book, the best plans now are different from what we were taught to make and draw in simpler times: nimble and inclusive, open-ended and brave, unafraid to break the rules."
"Worth the read … absolutely. This is a book that you will want on your shelf."
Manly Library Artists' Book Award
Exhibition Manly, Australia, March-April 2015
Sheffield International Artist's Book Award
Exhibition Sheffield, UK, October 2015
Alcuin Award for Excellence in Book Design: First Prize, Prose Fiction
Canadian national competition for book design. Winning books are exhibited and contributed to the permanent collections at various locations in Canada and internationally, 2015-16.