Or to give its full title:

The third wor*d war

* Apostrophe Theory  

"The Third Word War Is Apostrophe Theory - But What Is Apostrophe Theory?
Apostrophe Theory Is A Still From The Soundtrack - Apostrophe Theory Is The Splitting Image - Apostrophe Theory Is The Sound Of An Optical Allusion."

A rather unusual book by Ian Lee, it mostly consists of photographs, often of text, dictionary entries, magazine articles, etc., with punning captions which are interrelated to produce a befuddling semantic souffle.

One image is of the book's cover, captioned my idea of a book.

A large part of the book consists of oblique attempts to define Apostrophe theory.

In one such, two newspaper adverts, one for aerobics and one for transcendental meditation are presented side by side with the captions leg raising and consciousness pulling.

The book also presents many stereo photographs and excerpts a passage explaining how to view these by a controlled half-crossing of the eyes, lining up the inner pair of the four images visible.

One brief sequence consists of two almost identical pages. In both, a pea-sized black spot is centered in a large white space. The first explains that the dot is about the size of a black hole with the mass of the earth. It's captioned now you don't. The following page has the identical spot, and the reader is instructed to hold the book at arm's length and move it laterally until the spot vanishes (because you've located it at your blind spot.) This one is captioned now you see it.

In some cases, the punning themes continue over many pages at brain-stretching degrees of tenuousness, matched only by the most crazed and surreal E2 softlink artists. One such extended section involved the Joy Of Knowledge Encyclopaedia (captioned: seeing the JOKE), Cole Porter's name (coleporteur - a book seller), his song Night and Day, DNA, the musical interval between A and D, the knight's move in chess (an 'L', which the apostrophe stands for in the book's title) ...

The apostrophe itself is defined (inter alia) as:

The si'n of omission.


The missing 'ink

ISBN: 089104115X, New York, N.Y. : A & W Visual Library, 1978., according to

which gives the subject as Ian Lee, Artist's Books.

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