“VAS: An Opera in Flatland” is an experimental novel by author Steve Tomasula and the Chicago-based graphic artist and typographer Stephen Farrell.
The story attempts to imagine the future of a family’ the characters Square and Circle with their daughter Oval – effected by biotechnological experiment and innovation. But it’s the way the story is told that really gets the reader’s attention. Using heavily pictorial and non-linear story-telling, Tomasula and Farrell employ the visual history of Eugenics to imagine a fictional future for the genetic design of the human body.
The authors’ stated goal for their allegorical “hybrid image-text novel” is to consider the impact of the body’s mutability on knowledge, power, and the story-telling involved in a corporate, species-wide sense of identity. But as Rick Poyner points out in the opening salvo from the most recent issue of Eye magazine, the real story is the originality and inevitable attending successes and failures of Tomasula and Farrell’s design experiment.
VAS: An Opera in Flatland
Author: Steve Tomasula / Stephen Farrell
Specifications: 370 pages, 14 x 24 cm, Hardcover, English
Publication date: April 1, 2003
Published by Barrytown / Station Hill Publishers
Text: Matt Smith