Bad News and Good News

I did not start my new series A Month of Sundays this week as I had planned because I ended up dealing with other things, so I am starting this post with the same cheerful picture I used for my first post on my new Instagram account.

Sometime Thursday morning between the time I first looked at Instagram at breakfast and mid-morning when I went to upload my image for the day, Instagram deactivated my account for “not following Community Guidelines or Terms of Use”. It was a bit like being kicked in the stomach.

I have no idea why they did it. It is possible that I was hacked and someone posted something grossly inappropriate under my persona. It is possible that it was a random glitch in the system. It is also possible —and this one is interesting because it is not mentioned anywhere on Instagram’s Community Guidelines or Terms of Use— that I was shut down for “repetitive posting”. (David found that reference on a webpage talking about how to get reinstated.) I had noted early on in posting The 99 Dreams of Euclid’s Wife that the algorithm had stopped sharing all my images to all my followers. My guess is that it is not sophisticated/refined enough to distinguish between images all made using variations on the same colours and shapes. The algorithm may have recorded me showing the same image 92 times. (That’s how far I got before they shut me down.)

The rest of the week was spent frantically trying to launch an appeal. We did not own a cell phone so there was a pause at the step where I was required to type in a code sent to me by text message. Once I solved that problem, I got to the step where I had to upload a selfie holding a piece of paper with my name, user name, and a code written on it. Sounds simple enough.

The online form would not upload the image.

I tried taking the picture directly with my tablet. No joy. I tried uploading one taken with my camera and transferred to my tablet. I tried re-opening my account on my computer —some people who encountered the same problem had success with disabled accounts that way— but I could not log in because Instagram did not recognize the account because it is deactivated. After more than a day of doing research on the internet and trying different images and different ways of uploading, I gave up. There go 1200+ followers and more than two and a half years of carefully arranged posts. (I like to create patterns on my grid, which also may be a bad idea.)

Then Instagram would not even let me start a new account. Fortunately David was able to start one, and Instagram let me log in to that, so I’m back!

If you used to follow me on Instagram, you can find the new account here.


I am a bit anxious about posting the final images from The 99 Dreams of Euclid’s Wife on my new Instagram account, so I will only post them here. (I finished ahead of schedule because I used colouring as a way of relieving stress during the whole process.)

In other book arts news:

The newest version of the UWE Book Arts Newsletter is now available.


If you live in or close to Montréal, there are a few days left to see Paperholic at La Guilde.(Thanks to Guylaine Couture for the link.)


From Robert Bolick:

If you are in the Bristol area between now and 31 October, the Bower Ashton Library, University of Western England, is hosting a display of works from Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira l’Appropriation, Books on Books Collection exhibition. Free entry.

The online essay/exhibition has some newly added works by Mar Aza, Brad Freeman & Johanna Drucker and the Association jamais le Hasard. Just before the Further Reading section, there is also information on the Speck Collection exhibition held in July
at the Michael Werner Gallery.


The design of protest seems to be on people’s minds these days. You might be interested in the article Right On! Is a Powerful Little Paperback That Boldly Visualized Student Protest in the 1970s by Stephen Coles. It examines a little book included in the current Strikethrough exhibition.


Every movement needs a voice, and ever since Gutenberg systematized the concept of movable type posters have been one of the media of choice for discontents, troublemakers, poets, organizers, and visionaries. Posters have served as the poor person’s pulpit for a very long time in this country. Benjamin Franklin’s network of print shops helped “stick it to the man” before this was even a country.

The Book Club of California is offering an in-person and virtual presentation via Zoom by Lincoln Cushing, archivist and author, which explores ‘the lively alternative West Coast publishing scene of the “long 1960s” and shows how that legacy continues to influence new generations of troublemakers’.

About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
This entry was posted in book arts, Design, paper cutting, paper folding and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Bad News and Good News

  1. wendyfe says:

    What a terrible story, Cathryn. And no recourse at all. They seem think they can do whatever with no accountability because we do not pay for a IG account. And we certainly don’t select the algorithms. You were a pretty good Sherlock though.


    • Byopia Press says:

      Did my best, and glad to have found a work-around. I disliked Instagram before, but in my increasingly isolated situation, it is a way of having access to a community of like minds that I can’t find in another way.
      ; ]

      Liked by 1 person

  2. guylaine says:

    this story of instagram is so amazing. but indeed, that the algorythm does not see the difference between the images shows the limit of this automatic process… Hello again Cathryn! 🙂


    • Byopia Press says:

      Hi! The problem isn’t really the use of algorithms but the fact that they are usually programmed by white middle-class males in their early twenties who don’t know anything about the world in general, or art, in this particular case.
      ; ]

      Liked by 2 people

  3. How aggravating! I don’t have Instagram, so I don’t know how all that works, but I have come across frustrating issues with log ins. Once I forgot my Microsoft password but they wanted me to log in to prove it was me before I could re-set my password because I had forgotten it 😬 Hope it works for you this time!


  4. dinahmow says:

    Nope! No Insta-thing Chez Dinahmow. I get into enough muddle on WordPress, don’t I!! But this algorithm glitsch bothers me as some sectors hurtle towards an un-tried AI goal.
    Anyway, you and your man found a work-around. Huzzah!


    • Byopia Press says:

      Again, the problem with this kind of thing isn’t the conceptual end product, rather the limited world view of the people who program it/train it. An AI designed for face recognition that is only trained on white, mostly male, twenty-something examples —which is exactly what the first ones were trained on— is pretty much useless in the real world.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jean Goza says:

    Sorry to hear of the mess with IG. So frustrating. All artists want to do is connect with their community but as you put it, programmers don’t care about or concern themselves with what we want. I’m glad you have a work around. I always enjoy your posts and will connect with your “new” account.


  6. Vicki Lewis says:

    Wondering where you found the long beaked bird vase holding the pansies. It is so cute and something that brings a smile to my day !


  7. Laura says:

    Seems you’re missing in action again on IG. So frustrating and time wasting to go through this. Hope you get this resolved soon and we see you over on IG again!


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