To create my “book,” I initially drew from Borsuk’s discussion of the ephemerality of the book, particularly the idea of deconstructing it and leaving it vulnerable to the elements. She says: “Not only are their physical physical forms (including the tablet, scroll, codex, and variations) susceptible to decay, their power to spread ideas makes them vulnerable to censorship, defacement, and destruction, particularly motivated by ideological and political difference (179).” I sought to pair this with a physical engagement to the text, so that the reader would have to destroy the “book” as part of the process to read the text (the reader could also just ignore the text if he or she deemed the title uninteresting). I did this by gluing the pieces of notebook paper together at either end, thereby binding the text in a short of paper capsule.
However, this is not a secure capsule by any means. The notebook paper is fragile, and can easily be damaged by water, swept away by wind, or torn with too much force. In order to obtain the knowledge which the reader seeks, he or she must be able to give up the notion of a book’s physical perfection, while also sacrificing some of the knowledge itself in the process (this further engages the reader allowing him or her to piece back together severed strands of text).
I chose to use notebook paper as my material of choice because as a studious (?) college student, I have a great abundance of it. This is also how I landed on the using graphite-spewing mechanical pencils to transcribe the text. The freehanded nature of this transcription gives the text a loose quality, and the graphite is just as fragile as the paper; it can easily be erased or smeared. Its dull gray color also evokes a colorless wasteland, which inspired my choice of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land as the poem I would transcribe.
Building on this aforementioned looseness, I turned the notebook paper sideways, favoring the immense width of the Landscape style over the confining narrowness of Portrait style. With space for the text to breath, this action also turned the typically horizontal page lines to vertical. This was beneficial because I would write against the lines, rather than with them. All of these format and design choices were in an effort breakaway from Ulises Carrión calls “an ideal space (3).” I sought to subvert the streamlined nature of academic equipment I am surrounded by, in an attempt prevent, as Borusk says, “bleary-eyed” rereads of a significant poem.
Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. The MIT Press, 2018.
Carrion, Ulises. The New Art of Making Books. Aegean Editions, 2001.