My object, my accordion book, is considered a book due to the matter that it contains, and rather, what it appears to lack. Although the object is without a title, it does contain both a front and a back cover, and though the book doesn’t follow the natural codex of today, it does work to pass along the information it possesses. The ‘book’, in this case, is more of a distributor of knowledge than a simple story book, a collection of visuals and data that allow the reader to leave with a better understanding of the subject at hand. Similar to the accordion books that were “produced in many scripts and languages, … [where the information was] copied and memorized as a form of devotion by scribes across Asia,” my accordion book follows a similar idea, where the body matter would be of utmost importance (Borsuk 36-38). The content, then, in the object is key, for without the content the book would be without a purpose. To best pass along the information, based on the format, it “both [requires and rewards] sounding aloud” the text inside; with the accordion formatting, it’s much easier to share the information with others by reading it aloud than reflecting on the content as a whole (Borsuk 54). Though the accordion book isn’t a format that I would normally consider when speaking on the matter of a ‘book’, I have no doubt that the accordion book I created counts as such.
When making my book, for some reason, I treated the creation of the object more like an art project rather than designing a new book; for that reason, my book doesn’t feel as ‘clean’ as it could’ve been. The materials used only aid in this sensation, since I used colored pencils, charcoal paper, book board, and felt as my main source of supplies. The interesting point, however, is that the materials I used easily reflect both the world that I’m experiencing and the materials that I have at my disposal; since I have an affinity for art, and I’m a studio art minor, naturally, I’m more inclined to turn a simple book-making project into one that’s a little more imaginative. There’s a plethora of art supplies in my dorm room, from sketchbooks, to markers, to colored pencils, and more, meaning that creating a book in this way was only a matter of time. Even in regard to the ideas that I came up with when designing my book were more art-inclined than others; my mind immediately looked at all of the ways in which I could craft the most aesthetically pleasing piece of art that would draw the appearance of a book, one that would pass along information of my choice while also using my creative abilities. Had art not been a part of my life, the accordion book that I crafted would have looked significantly different, and I have no doubt that the project would have employed totally different aspects of my life than the ones I chose to focus on.
Initially, the imagined reader or audience I perceived when creating my accordion book was myself, as I was under the assumption that I would be the only one to care about what my book would contain; after finishing my creation, I learned that my initial presumptions were false. My actual audience includes anyone with a wish to discover more about horses in general, or those people who yearn to learn information on the individual horses in the Equestrian Club and riding program. For example, anyone interested in joining the program just has to quickly flip through my accordion book to grasp basic material on each of the horses, along with what they look like and an exaggerated view of their personalities. In that sense, the accordion book I made can be treated more as an informational and visual pamphlet for the program, rather than a book you’d pick up off the shelf of a Barnes and Noble.
The language used in the book is simple and to the point, and there are few words in the book as only the few words placed in the content are necessary. In having such few words, however, and in keeping the language basic, grasping the information is much easier, for the individual can easily find what they’re looking for with a simple flicking of the pages. The text is also what connects the information to the images displayed on the page, for without them present, the audience would have no idea which horse was being discussed, what the purpose of the book was, or why the pictures were necessary in the first place. The text is what glues the book together (besides the actual bits of glue, of course), for without any text, the book would simply be another collection of pictures and drawings, and no information would be gained besides the idea of what a horse looks like.
Borsuk, Amaranth. The Book. The MIT Press, 2018.
2 thoughts on “An Equine Accordion Book: A Creative and Critical Response”
I like how you mentioned that your book seems more like a book when it is folded than when it is not. It’s as if the book seems more “book-like” at times and more “non-book-like” at others, when in reality it is the same book. Perhaps this shifting itself questions what it means to be a book. Normally, a book is static, both in form and in content, but because your book, like other accordion books, opens outward, it jumps out at the reader – it is itself a surprise, as are its folds, which can both reveal and obscure its content.
What is most often more meaningful to readers is that the author/artist finds it meaningful. By inscribing what you love, you get to share that same emotion with others who may not have a particular affinity to horses, but they can celebrate in a shared joy. A book as experience is an underappreciated feature.