Brooklyn, NY: punctum books, 2012. 160 pages, illus. ISBN-13: 978-0-6156244-2-6. DOI: 10.21983/P3.0036.1.00. $20.00 in print: paperbound/6.75 X 9 in.

Knowledge comes only in flashes.

~ Walter Benjamin

Through an engrossing counterpoint of image and text, the book reconstructs relations of looking in the ten year period, 1965 to 1975, when flash cubes were marketed. As Long notes in her introduction, these were also the years of the Vietnam war, and one of the book’s achievements is the way it renders visible the often unexpected conjunctions between these parallel timelines. These conjunctions are formed in language and its tropes, in mentalities and visual repertoires, in bodies and their classification, and Long’s provocative stream of footnoted images conjures the diverse, crisis ridden contexts into which the flash cube entered.

~ Anna McCarthy, review in Social Text

Flash + Cube (1965-1975)

First Edition [in print] also available at Printed Matter, and also catalogued as part of the holdings of the International Center for Photography.

Flash + Cube (1965-1975) is an artist’s book about the Sylvania flashcube — the space-aged, flash photography device, revolutionary in 1965 and nearly obsolete by 1975. Assembled from a wide range of archival materials — a “terrorist letter,” G.I. photographs from Vietnam, Sylvania flashcube advertisements, as well as Long’s photographs and photomontages—the book explores the links between light, war, history and photography.

Apart from its circulation as a novelty item online, the flashcube is largely forgotten. The history of photographic flash is also often relegated to a footnote and is strikingly under-analyzed. Yet flash’s blinding effects and military genealogy, and the flashcube’s precise contemporaneity with the war in Vietnam make this a rich analytical object with which to reflect on the cultural, political and economic imperatives of its moment. As Long’s deft work with this archive shows, the flashcube is good to think with.

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