the

transformed

book

An Introductory Studio Course. The object of this drawing course is to take an existing book and to do it over---to claim it as one’s own and to transform it into a re-imagined field of expression and thought. The imagery will grow out of a gathering of personally selected elements brought together by free association or “brainstorming.”

“Brainstorming” is a broad-based research and indexing of an artist’s visual choices and concerns from the world around him or her. Magazines and newspaper photo clippings, snapshots and Polaroids, reproductions from art history, letters, poetry, shopping lists, representations of the artist’s home and other elements of the artist’s enviroment, favorite colors, souvenirs, charms, simple lists of topics and objects: all will be stored in a sketchbook which serves a supermarket of references for the “transformed book.”

To prepare for the “transformed book,” preliminary exercises will explore the possibilities for and techniques of visual communication. The book as format brings specific considerations into play: sequence, edge, the picture plane, scale, narration, formal relations, choices of medium, principles of unity and opposition, the wide range of drawing styles in contemporary art and art history, “high” and “low” (comics, story books, graffiti, etc.) art forms, and collage. All are options and possible combinations that will be considered, as well as concepts borrowed from literature such as irony and metaphor, which can play a significant role in shaping and enhancing the “transformed book.” This course will be taught be a visiting African American artist.

[A slightly edited description of a course taught at Oberlin College in 1992, by a Prof. Wilmore in Studio Arts.]

Milan Kundera’s idea: when people are walking and trying to remember something, they slow up; when people are trying to forget something, they speed up. In his late 1990s novel, Slowness.

Fiber optics may speed things up so much that it all loops around to becoming a new way of remembering.


"Our ties to beings and things are so fragile they often break without us noticing."

"You try to be free through writing. How wrong. Every word unveils another tie."
---Reb Léca

Léca is a rabbi and commentator, one the the characters in Edmond Jabès' The Book of Questions, p. 37. Trans. Rosemarie Waldrop. Hanover NH: Wesleyan UP, 1991. Jabès' texts were originally published in France in 1964-65.

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