For my book object, I drew from scroll and pamphlet inspirations to make a hybrid product that is influenced by both concepts. For my book object, I drew from scroll and pamphlet inspirations to make a hybrid product that is influenced by both concepts. Unlike traditional scrolls, however, my final product is a continuous loop with no end. It is designed to be perpetually threaded through the top and bottom at the reader’s will for the purpose of viewing the contents. The inner “pages” are designed to be folded and unfolded rather than rolled up. The poem I chose to furnish the inside is Richard Le Galliene’s “Buried Treasure,” a choice that touches upon the themes also present in the materials comprising my object’s physical structure. My book object is made from scrap materials I had no use for and would have thrown away. These materials include an old handmade copy of my class schedule, an empty mooncake wrapper, scribbled-on Post-it notes, expired club fundraiser ads, the cardboard ring from a coffee cup, and the bubble wrap-sided lining from an abandoned Amazon package.For my book object, I drew from scroll and pamphlet inspirations to make a hybrid product that is influenced by both concepts.
How is my object a “book”? In The Book, Borsuk mentions the Torah scroll’s specific ceremonial purpose on the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah, or “rejoicing of the Torah” where the Torah is processed around after the final reading before resuming its position so that its beginning can be read too, “symbolizing the cyclical nature of both the year and the text” (Borsuk 20). A book is “also a sequence of moments,” says Ulises Carrión in The New Art of Making Books; what better way to convey this idea than a scroll that comes in boxes, that never needs to be rewound at one end? Furthermore, according to Borsuk, artists’ books “offer a greater variety of formats that can carry the name ‘book,’ […] reminding us of the deep history of formal experimentation with the material text” (Borsuk 146). In incorporating influences of a scroll design yet experimenting with more than one simultaneously, my book object attempts to pay homage to history. However, the hybridity also helps to “link [my object] to digitally mediated books” through its exploration of traits shared by other books (Borsuk 146). My chosen scrap materials reflect how anything, including things destined for trash, can be reused and made useful and beautiful. Even things thought to be obsolete can have an important purpose as shown by the strategically placed snack wrapper, for example. As a student, my daily circumstances were an excellent way to drive the point home how old drafts and supplies in everyday life can be reincorporated, as reflected in the ingredients comprising my book object. My desired reader is one who wishes to revisit the past and be confronted with the repetitions of time which my book object rises to confront with its properties: a design that is a metaphor for beauty being found in anything, a material makeup that addresses the reusage of objects thought to be useless and only fit to be abandoned, pages whose cyclical system mimics that of humanity’s practices over time being recycled just like the materials that make it, and even the poem inside which addresses the mourning of lost beauty and the questioning of to where it has disappeared.
Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. The MIT Press, 2018.
Carrion, Ulises. The New Art of Making Books. Aegean Editions, 2001.