all that empty space

So this project ending up being not at all as difficult or frustrating as i feared it might have been. I honestly didn’t think it would be, but i had my suspicions (the last few books i’ve made were met with some productivity resistance). I have a feeling that the reason this time was different is i actually had a startlingly clear idea about the conceptual elements and productions means well before i even bought the materials for it. This may be what painters feel like when they look at a canvas and see in its whiteness the painting they aim to create.

I’m not sure when my idea hit me (perhaps as soon as Meredith announced the project to the class), but it was one of those ideas that sweeps everything else away and announces, “I’m it.”
“Lost” translated to me as “astronaut drifting through space.” Space imagery has been lurking around the edges of my creative ideas for a while now, and really, whenever i think of “lost”, the two strongest images i get are being lost at sea and being lost in space. I feel both are closely linked to the idea of the individual lost in some sort of infinite, indifferent vastness, though i feel like space is a much, much lonelier vastness. It feels empty. And to be just out there, floating in it…that’s a terrifying thought/emotional state for me. Though, and i noticed this in putting my astronaut cutout in various poses, there is almost a kind of heartbreaking gracefulness in a silent object just drifting through space. Maybe it’s the reduction of objects to motion and their relationship to space (ha: pun!). Jeremy Geddes’s work contemplates these ideas, i think. And, after showing this book to a friend (and Geddes fan), i realized that his work very much influenced the visual concept i started out with.

As far as what kind of book it is, i did an accordion book with a Turkish Fold. I really wanted to try my hand at combining styles, and those two seemed to work really well together. Originally the Fold would house the derelict spacecraft the astronaut was floating away from, and would go last, but as i started working with the papers i set aside for this project, i realized (though i don’t know if “realized” is the right word) that the astronaut needed to be alone, completely alone, and that the Fold should house a massive planet. And should go in the middle.
Actually, the process of making the book really felt like revising a poem: getting close enough to the materials to gain an understanding of where THEY wanted to go and what THEY wanted to do. It really felt like there was a book waiting for me in the paper, waiting for me to look closely enough at it to find it. And, after i caught a glimpse, all that was left was really just putting things in their place. And, even though the idea/picture i had of it in my mind changed a little and was refined and focus, the process of making the book felt, essentially, like i was matching the physical objects up with what i had in my head. It helped that the physical objects seemed more than willing to go where i wanted them to go (or maybe it was they saw my mental image, too, and giddily moved themselves there); this was the first time i ever had a pretty damn clear idea of what i wanted to do with an art project before i did it. Maybe that’s why creating it wasn’t really difficult at all. I was in a state of either “wow, i’m having a lot of fun” or “i’m in a neutral workspace” the entire creation period. I even made tests! I had to do the Turkish Fold a few times before i got it right.

I think the neatest thing for me in regards to making my book was the sensation of feeling that all of these piece fit together, and that there was this one particular way that they did, like grooves between cogs, and all i was really doing in making the book was feeling out that one way and sliding everything into place.

1 comment
  1. meredithpurvis said:

    This book is beautifully done! Your idea of lost in space is quite interesting and the book is elegantly constructed. Great job!

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