Cannibal Actif

Cannibal Actif

Rochelle Goldberg


May 2017
Sequence Press and Totem Press

Designed by Geoff Kaplan and Rochelle Goldberg
Edited by Frances Perkins and Katherine Pickard
Texts by Rochelle Goldberg, Frances Perkins, and Leah Pires  
Hardcover 8.25 in. x 10.75 in., 188 pp.
ISBN 978-0-9975674-5-8 

Special Edition of thirteen copies, with a unique work.


Rochelle Goldberg’s Cannibal Actif devours the line between artist book and archive. Each page bracketing a visual thought that leaks off the page seeping through to the next, proposing a structural challenge to the visual, material, and narrative format through which it unfolds. The book's pale cover will wear the dust and dirt of its surroundings, collected over time, while extreme varnish on the pages within will capture the readers residual touch.

Thick pools of crude oil envelope bathers in Baku, spilling off their bodies onto a floodline, or further seeping out as a glossy stream of text. Oil poured over gears and out of portals does not stop at the page's edge. These spills are free of constraint—the drainage collects elsewhere onto another page, as a new image: a face, a hand, a snake. The arc of Goldberg’s story traces the cannibal’s consuming action and subsequent digestion, through corporeal flesh to mechanistic fixtures, while the material limit of ink on a page has been pushed to reflect this narrative track. Overlapping sequences of chroma centric blacks and rusty metallics bend and bleed to offer a psychedelic saliva that lubricates a hardened message, then tempered by soft gradients of reds, greens and pinks, reflecting the visceral membrane of a jellyfish, at once separating and joining two cavities—ingesting and secreting, in rhythm. Through consumption, the cannibal augments itself, but the reader must also cross the swamp, the mirror, and the pools of oil or crystalline water, to reach this enhanced state. A new life of texts and tones greets us on the other side of the mirror.

Contributions by art historian Leah Pires, publisher Frances Perkins, and the artist crack open previous helpings of thoughts served as varnished murmurs, bold words now permitted to ooze across double-page spreads, a regurgitated message we too can consumed.



Cannibal Actif: A Gutter Emerges
Consuming Agents 
Hello Said Mirror 
The Mirror Has Another Side 
Cannibal Actif Continues: La Méduse
The Space Between Two Mirrors by Leah Pires 
Epilogue by Frances Perkins
Methodological Notes 
The Mirror Isn’t Finished 










Cannibal Actif: The Artist Book as Threshold for Material Encounters
Joëlle Dubé & Maria Castañeda-Delgado
Esse 101, Winter 2021