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Listen: Tasha Lewis '12 on Art Beyond Critical Study

Tasha Lewis '12 on Art Beyond Critical Study

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Earlier in the semester, Tasha Lewis '12 spoke on campus about her project to illustrate each page of James Joyce's Ulysses. The project was motivated by a close study of the text and surrounding critical studies.

Lewis is an artist from Indianapolis, Ind., currently working at the studios of Aferro Gallery in Newark, N.J. Her art practice bridges the hard strength of sculpture with the hand-powered detail and tactility of textiles. While working across a wide range of themes, she has honed a technique for making light, flexible paper, and tape sculpture that is covered in a fabric skin. The relationship between the skin and the form is the same as it is in nature; the stretched surface molds around the solid interior without loosing its softness and vulnerability. It is this connection which attracts her to the natural world. What began as experimentation in faux-taxidermy has become more about Lewis: exploration of the stitch as mark, female craft, and her position as a woman in the art world.

Lewis graduated from Swarthmore with High Honors in English literature and studio art. In 2012, her butterfly art installation, which landed in Chicago, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and at the College, drew national attention.

Following the talk a dedication of her Butterfly Cascade, the new art installation in McCabe Library, took place. See below for a time-lapse video by David Neal of the installation. 

Audio Transcript

Nathalie Anderson:  Hi. Good afternoon. Can you all hear me all right? Great. I'm Nathalie Anderson. I teach in the Department of English Literature, and I found out about five minutes ago that I'd be introducing Tasha Lewis. I'm thrilled to have that privilege, actually, although I didn't teach Tasha during the time that she was a student here. I did come to know her during her years at the college, first when she collaborated with a poet who I'd been doing a directed-writing project with to create an artist book which was also a poet's book. Then later, because I was so enthusiastic about that project, I took the trouble to see the other artwork that she was doing and was thrilled by it.

Last summer, I guess it was, Tasha was in touch to say that she had some ideas about a project and was wondering if she might bounce some ideas off me that had to do with illustrating James Joyce's Ulysses. You probably know that there's a kind of artist book that's going on these days that takes a well-known literary text and does something with it. There's been a new presentation of Leaves of Grass where the words form images, the images of Walt Whitman doing things or images of the particular things being described in the verse. There's also a really amazing book that's an illustrated version of Moby Dick. Again, not a one-to-one correspondence, it's more taking ideas from the pages and doing something unusual with them, something unexpectedly artistic with them.

Tasha decided that she would like to do this sort of project with James Joyce's Ulysses, of course one of the seminal texts, I'll just say I mean that word in every sense, seminal texts of the 20th century, a text which is famously enormous. Lots and lots of people who are knowledgeable about the world of literature will tell you in a whisper that they haven't actually finished it yet. I, myself, did finish it when I was in my 40s when I was going to be in Dublin on Bloomsday, the day in which the events occur that are in Ulysses. It was well worthwhile to finish it with that goal in mind.

Since then, I've been able to participate in the Rosenbach Museum downtown that has a celebration of Bloomsday, of that day, and involves lots of people from the city reading portions of the book. It was a particular delight for me, with that year-by-year reminder of the riches of Ulysses, to see the various ways in which Tasha explored this project. She's going to tell you about the particulars of it, but I just wanted to say it has been a thrill to watch this come into being. You can see it yourself online, and I hope that there will be a book available before too long. Tasha is amazing, and here she is.

Tasha Lewis: Thank you.

Nathalie A.: Yeah, sure.

Tasha Lewis: Thanks so much, Nat. There are three copies circulating of the project. Just feel free to multitask. Look at the slides. Look at the book. I think that it has kind of an enormous scope, as the text does, so I think it helps for you guys to sort of be able to actually handle it and feel the scale of what I did, because I'm only going to be showing a tiny fraction of, really, what I ended up with.

This is a portrait of James Joyce by Robert Motherwell, and he is sort of the reason why I'm here. I really don't think that I would have done this for a different literary text. I mean, I was an English major. I love a lot of books. There are a lot of books that I would reread over and over again, but there's something about the depth of this text, that there's so much to mine out of it, that really primed it for this experience that I put it through and put myself through.

Really, the idea did come to me on a subway ride in New York City. I wasn't reading the text at the time. I really have no idea how it came to be, but I just was thinking about it, and I was like, "If you were to illustrate it, you would have to ..." One, I didn't think it was going to be me. I was just like, "One would illustrate a different style for every chapter because Joyce is really working in totally different ways thematically, tonally, literally in the words that he's using, the physicality of the text. Everything is different depending on the chapter." I knew that I wanted to create these image pairings that would change, and the styles would change.

I had this idea, and I wrote it down in my notebook. It wasn't until a year later that there was a proposal for a print residency, and I thought, "Okay. This is a print idea." I'm a sculptor in my regular artist life. This was an idea I had bouncing around, and so I wrote this proposal. As many of you know or will find out, writing proposals, you often don't get the thing that you had to be so enthusiastic about, but I found out a few weeks later that I was going to get eight weeks of time in northern Maine in order to pursue this rather specific project. That sort of pushed me off a cliff. I had to make it a real thing, and so I started looking back at a lot of secondary criticism, reading the text again, trying to flush out what each of these 18, because they had to be 18 different styles for the 18 different chapters, what they were going to be.

I had done a lot of readings for [Phil's 00:05:49] seminar class, the professor who used to teach Modernism, and so he directed me in some ways, but I also found this critic Karen Lawrence and her book The Odyssey of Style in Ulysses. I was really drawn to a lot of books that, instead of creating a large thematic breakdown analysis of the book ... There are current literary critics who just do a chapter on each chapter. I loved the way that she broke down how she sees what Joyce is doing in the text, which is to break from the paternity that normal authors, even Modernist authors, really have. You know that Wolfe is writing Wolfe. You can tell that it's her. Joyce, in Ulysses, is really breaking from that mold. He begins with a style that is very similar and, in fact, exactly the same as Portrait of an Artist, but he breaks from that. Then you get a new person and a new writer, and it's like each chapter is this new person, this new author. I loved that idea because I wanted to do that with my artistic style. I didn't want it to be obvious that it was me making every chapter. I wanted to break away from them. I love the way that she really shaped that idea of paternity and breaking from it in these various masks.

Another thing I did, because it seemed very prudent, was to look at the history of illustrators of Ulysses, and there have been many, and many famous ones indeed. Henri Matisse ... You can see that this is an illustration for Circe. It's rather notorious because most people don't actually think that Matisse read the text before he illustrated it, and a lot of people think he was just illustrating The Odyssey. I read another article that was sort of a counterpoint that Joyce actually knew that and had a phone conversation with him and said, "That's fine," but there's a whole to-do about the authenticity of the illustration. Fundamentally, these guys, Matisse, and we'll see with Motherwell, are not interested in serving the text as I wanted to serve the text. They're interested in serving their own artistic style. It's very easy to draw the parallels, and of course I picked his paintings that fit it, but between ... You recognize the authorial mark of that artist.

I was looking at these authors, these male painters interpreting this text, and I knew I wanted to do something totally different. I also knew I wanted to change the scale. Motherwell created these 22 etchings, and he was a scholar of the text. Unlike Matisse, he definitely spent time with it. It really shaped the way he thought about a lot of things, but for him, the biggest connection to the text was the color of these slides. For me, if you're going to ... If this art is supposed to respond to the text, if color is the only cue that you're giving your viewers, you're not going to be able to get that much real information out of it. Maybe some of these chapters are about flesh, or maybe some of them are about nature, and that's why the color changed, but really having one image per chapter is such a burden to put on each image.

I mean, these are two images by Richard Hamilton, another illustrator, one for Sirens, the other for Circe. He went to great pains. Hamilton really was a major scholar. In the Circe element, he went through all of the moments in Circe where Bloom changes costume. If any of you are familiar with Circe, it's rather a nightmare. He really went to a lot of effort to try to make it reflect the text, but again, in my eyes, both of these image are very clearly painted by the same hand, that there's no break in style. That's really what I was driving towards in my work.

Ironically, I also did another one of these that was a mono style, as I'll call it, in 2011. I think, potentially, this kind of needed to happen. It was a precursor to this much bigger project. I created 18 images with knots, and then I scanned the knots and created siena-type prints. They were each paired with a laser-cut version of Joyce's schemata, which is a text I'm about to show you guys. It explains each chapter and breaks down, into the smallest pieces, the hour, the setting, the color, the symbol. This was a piece I did, as I said, in 2011. Maybe it did found what I was going to do, but most specifically it's because of the schemata.

Any of you guys who are English majors and Joyce readers have probably been given this handout. Joyce wrote this list of information to guide people because, at the very beginning, he didn't want to give anything away, but everybody was like, "Dude, Joyce, we don't know what's going on. Can you please, you know, give us at least something to go on, like what are the Greek names mean, what ... " So he created this text, and I think it's fascinating. I love that there are breaks. I love that the specific images that he uses, the specific words, the colors. All of this is, to me, was very generative, so this was kind of the starting point for my project. I'm going to start at the beginning, but I'm not going to do every chapter because there are 18 and I could go on for hours, and we don't have that much time.

Telemachus, if you saw here, the colors are white and gold, and the art is theology. Telemachus, that begins the book, Stephen has woken up in a tower. His friend or roommate, Buck Mulligan, is shaving, and he's going through this sacrilegious sermon movements as he's shaving. Throughout the chapter, Stephen is the protagonist and we're following him. He has these moments of lapse where he fogs into this remembrance of his mother, and her death, and her deathbed, and so there's this fogginess happening. Also, a sort of crescendo of the chapter is the delivery of milk, because they're getting breakfast and Buck is really mad because they don't have any milk, and so the milkmaid and the milk arrival is this symbolic moment in the chapter.

In thinking about translating this visually, I was like, okay, I wanted something that could be milky, that could be foggy, that I could translate this tactile feeling of memory that Stephen is experiencing, and so I used these Xerox transfers. Essentially, a Xerox transfer, you print it and then you glue the transfer onto another substrate paper. Then after it's dried, you can wipe away, sort of peel away the pulp, revealing a reverse version of the image. In that way, the pulpiness was able to be this fog, again, obfuscating some of the images in the background. The gold leaf, which again is queuing off of what Joyce said, allows it to kind of break out of that. It's a very hard, solid, shiny-like drawing. It's drawing a lot of attention, sort of like Buck is, away from Stephen, who is this melancholic thinker. That was sort of how I put together this first chapter.

Oxen of the Sun is another one that I was drawing pretty strongly from the schemata. He's describing the technique as development, this embryonic development. The chapter itself is written beginning in sort of Middle to Old English, and then going through various rhetorical styles, and then it ends with Cockney accents, and so there is the development of language, but the actual narrative is in a lying-in hospital and this woman is giving birth. She's been in labor for three days, and there are all these men that are hanging out and carousing waiting for the birth to happen. The content, really, of this chapter is development, relationships, women, birth, childhood, all these things.

I knew I wanted to pull a lot of collage material from those kind of realms, from medical journals, from various art history things, from ads. As you can see in the title page, I also wanted to reflect that embryonic development, and I did that by using an encaustic base. Essentially, encaustic is usually beeswax and a resin, but I just decided to use just the beeswax on its own. It creates this depth that I can layer in and, again, a kind of obfuscation of those deeper layers of text that are sort of hidden in between the layers of wax that build up. Another thing that I didn't really expect would happen with the wax is it also made the images, the collage materials, sort of translucent, so I was able to get this interesting overlap that I didn't get in some of the other chapters where I'm using a standard collage.

Wandering Rocks was shaped, again, by Karen Lawrence, going back to one of her theories. She described the chapter and the way it's narrated, because it's not omniscient. You're going around Dublin. It's, I think, 32 different vignettes. It's sort of this omniscient eye, but it's a mechanical eye, so she describes it as this writing machine. I loved the idea of a writing machine absorbing information traveling around Dublin. I was like, "Okay, what is the counterpart to that in the real world?" I thought, "Oh, it's Google Street View," because there are all these Google Street View trucks driving through and they're absorbing everything indiscriminately. I don't know if you guys have ever found really weird things on Google Street View, but I decided to walk around Dublin in Google Street View.

For the most part, there have been a lot of scholars who have mapped out exactly where everybody is in Wandering Rocks at exactly what time, and so you can really see like they're on this street, and then they turn on this street, and then ... I followed, as best I could, those things, so each page is illustrated with an image drawn from Google Street View. Because it wasn't going to be a one-to-one, I wasn't going to get a great image of the same doorway that's being described in Joyce, I was really looking for those moments of strangeness. I love down here it says, "Poets and novelists." It's this alleyway that has all this trash and debris. Another page I like, they caught a woman with her purse and she's all blurred out. All these moments that are very Joyce-y in moments captured, again, by this Google Street View.

My personal practice did come a little bit into play. I was talking all this about distancing myself from my artistic style, but the chapter Nausicaa, I kind of drew it back in. It was probably inevitable. My sculptural work is essentially based in photographic fabric prints that are hand-sewn around sculptures, and so I do a lot of embroidery and a lot of hand-stitching. Nausicaa, which is ... it's a very female chapter. It's about this young teenage girl who is very obsessed with the way she looks, and the way people perceive her, and all the cosmetics that she can use, and so I knew I wanted to pair that with ads. I found all of these historic ads and was able to use those as the base for these illustrations that were done in thread, again, a traditional female occupation that probably Gerty would be doing and, for me, was a very familiar occupation because of my other work. 

Scylla and Charybdis, for me, is probably the hardest chapter in Joyce to read. I think, because it's a chapter about literature, it's even harder to read. They're discussing Hamlet. Also, it's not a very visual chapter. Almost every other chapter has so many rich, beautiful scenes and illusions. In Scylla and Charybdis, it's just a bunch of guys sitting in a library, so I wasn't really going to be able to pull out the same images that I can in some where they're moving across the city. To me, I was interested in the idea because Stephen puts forth a coded interpretation of Hamlet, and so I wanted to create my own visual code that would play off what Stephen is ... He is trying to put forth this rather ridiculous theory.

I was inspired by my friend, Shanti Grumbine, who does these amazing cut cutouts of newspapers. She'll actually cut out, excise all of the words of like the New York Times and then present it as this kind of mosaic, like a broken mosaic. What I did is I redacted all of the text except for the first few lines of that page. The words aren't together. They're spread out, and there's no way to indicate a space, so you don't really know when one word ends and when the next word begins. If you don't have the text next to you, it just looks like this mosaic with all these redactions. I think that was interesting to me. It was one of the only chapters that has text in it that you can read. Almost all the other text has been redacted either with thread or with other means. I found that people who interact with this chapter who are less visual, who are more literary, they're interested ... They want to figure out the code, and so that kind of worked as a totally different style for me to implement for this chapter that I feel isn't very visual.

For most of the work that you've seen so far, I've been doing a lot of collage. In order to do collage, you have to get great sources. I did do this entire project in eight weeks, but before that, basically the six months before that, I was preparing this library of sources. The following chapters really rely heavily on those source material that I put together. I found a lot of visual dictionaries, so there's lots of images, mostly a lot of ad cuts from a publish called Dover. They reprint all these old ad cuts, anatomy books, art books, anything that I could feel I could get for cheap enough that I could then cut up.

One of the key chapters where the source is really important is Cyclops. I think, of all the chapters, this is the one that I understood so much more after I went through this process. I think when I was reading it for class, it got reduced into this sort of a xenophobic, anti-Semitic guy and Bloom, poor Bloom, stuck in this bar having to deal with him. I think when I reread it, I realized that there's a really interesting tension between this absolutist person and all of the very mythic, beautiful, ideas he has about the myth of Ireland.

I knew that I wanted this chapter to be tied in with Ireland itself, so I got this amazing encyclopedia called The Encyclopedia of Ireland. It was actually printed in 1904, and it had all these amazing county maps. Then it also had this heraldry, and the heraldry provided me with this symbolic, abstract, geometric elements that I could then pair with the actual maps, which I then, as you can see on the side, I cut out and created these metaphors of the body, this vein, this system, and again, redacting parts of the image. It was really the contrast between those two elements that allowed me to pull out a lot of images in that text. Again, in that chapter, I really thought it was going to be abstract. I didn't think that I was going to be able to play to the narrative, because when I had read it in class, I didn't really understand what the narrative was. Somehow, it really ... It moved the way that I thought about the text forward a lot.

Hades is another one of my favorite chapters, actually. The source material for that I ... For some reason, when I thought about death, I thought about 15th-century woodcuts as being this beautiful celebration of death. The image here is from a book called La Danse Macabre, and it's kind of ... It's showing that at every ... It's also from the 1450s, I think, showcasing that every level in society everybody gets taken away by death, and so it's all these various people and all these skeletons. I thought that would be a great place to start. Then I built upon that with some other books of Albrecht Durer because he also has an amazing woodcut portfolio to draw from, and again, I was able to create these scenes.

In this page, the carriage has just driven by Stephen, but nobody knows. Bloom doesn't know that, and he's kind of this lost son, and so that was like ... To me, I look at that and I see that part of the narrative. You guys, you might just be interested in the way that I combined the images, so there's this kind of double layer in the way that what I see, and what you guys see, and then what other readers of Joyce would see. I don't know if anybody remembers the line when Bloom is thinking they're at the grave site, and he's imagining that you would have a record player playing the voice of the dead person next to the grave because that would be a way for you to remember them, remember the sound of their voice. I just love that image of ... So many processes that Bloom is going through are just so fascinating, so it was great for me to put paint to paper, as it were, and make them real.

Ithaca was probably the biggest endeavor of collage that I did. It's, I think, almost 80-some pages. The previous two chapters were a little bit smaller, around 40 pages. This one, I opened up my scope and basically used any paper material that I could find. Because I was opening that so wide and I was getting a lot of newspaper articles, magazine things, I needed a way to redact the text again, so I turned to stitching. To me, the stitch is kind of ... It's in a foreign element here because it's in paper. Ithaca is the penultimate chapter where Bloom and Stephen come to Bloom's house, and they're going back and forth, and one of them ... Stephen has this artistic sensibility, and Bloom has more of a scientific sensibility, and they're both kind of ill-at-ease. I liked the idea of bringing the stitching into the paper, because it's also sort of ill-at-ease in this paper world. I also love the way that you kind of have to punch through the paper before you can sew it. There's something great about that.

Here's another image, sort of a double portrait of Bloom and Stephen. The one of the urination is probably one of my favorite sections of Ithaca that describes their simultaneous urinations. It's really great. I think Ithaca is one of my favorite chapters in the book. Again, the thread was able to enhance the ... What I couldn't find in a magazine, I was able to bring in with thread and modify the images or add a little bit, add geometry, or redact, or do what I needed to do in order to really sharpen it to the point that Joyce is getting to in that page.

These are images of Eastport, Maine where I did all of this work. You might be wondering how I did any work at all, because it's really gorgeous. I actually drew a lot from my location because I was here doing a residency, site-specific. I was in a print shop, and it really did affect the way that I approached a bunch of the chapters. I'm going to talk about three chapters that were really influenced by that.

One of the first image of those I actually did one of the watercolors for Proteus of this marsh grass in this tidal marsh. You can see another one, sort of in situ watercoloring. Proteus is the third chapter. Stephen is walking along the beach. He's having these amorphous thoughts about life and he ... All of these feelings and sensations he's describing are actually very similar to me walking along the beach in Eastport. It's the same water. I thought that was a great starting point for a chapter that ... It's not very long. There are only 12 images that I watercolored, but it was a great way for me to tip my hat at Eastport and include these images that also reference back to what Joyce is describing.

For the final chapter, Penelope, I did a collaborative project with the community, but instead of watercoloring on site, I actually was taking Polaroid images. Penelope, there are a few reasons that I wanted to do Polaroids. There's something about the aura of a Polaroid. It has a very specific, beautiful, you-don't-have-to-filter-it kind of filter. It has something to do with memory for me. It just seems so fitting for this chapter without any punctuation, that's just this recall of her whole life, these memories all free associated together. I went around the community and ... The fish that you see here, Molly's describing her ... a memory she has of being in Spain and being at a fish market, and so I got the local fish monger to give me some bait fish and I photographed that. That bicycle is my bicycle. She's describing the disheveled nature of her bed. That's my bed. There were these parallels that I was able to pull together that really locked the project into the place that I did it.

The final element was, of course, that I was at this print shop. I was surrounded by type, and I was spending all this time making these collages. I finally went over and pulled up one of the type drawers and saw that they had all this gorgeous wood type. For the Aeolus chapter, which is set in a newspaper office, I knew that I had to do something with this type, and so I used it. I mostly pulled out the headlines that are already pulled out in the text and placed them in the background. Then to create the image, I actually used a date stamp, and I created these masks in order to get these various gradients and crisp lines on the image.

It was trial and error trying to set type. I don't know if anyone has set type before, but you have to think about it in the other direction. I'm a little bit dyslexic, so that was kind of fun. Really, being in that place, I wouldn't have produced the work the way that I did if I hadn't had access to this type. It was a really important connection that I was, again, able to make to Eastport and to that print shop. Here are some more of those. The date stamp, of course, is the date that I was working on it. I think it's October 20th and 21st that I was working on these pieces.

Time, that's the big issue, right? I did this in eight weeks. I'll talk a little bit about the pacing for that, but also, if you've seen a copy of the book, you might have noticed that there are clocks that appear kind of at random, totally separate from whatever the style is. They're all the same. These pronto plates, which is a kind of lithographic plate, of the same clock, which is the clock in my dining room ... Again, going back to that schemata where Joyce is very clear about the timing of each chapter, I knew that I wanted time to jump out, and I wanted that to break whatever visual ... If you were engrossed in something, I wanted the time of 4:00 to jump out at you. That was just a decision I made about the way that I wanted the book to be broken up as a pace. I also think that it orients the reader. If you're actually reading my book next to Joyce's Ulysses, you might not know that this page is taking place at 2:30, but if you look at my clock, you're like, "Oh, this page is happening at 2:30. This is great to know." It's a way for me to impart some essential piece of information.

About the pacing, you can see this image. It has all of my very fast renderings for the Lotus Eaters. Essentially, I paced myself that I had to make 12 pages a day, and that was just a math thing. I think what really helped finish the project and keep the pace that high was that I could jump between these various styles that I showed you and many others. If I was bored with setting type or if I was bored with watercoloring, I could switch and do something totally different.

The biggest question mark I had was Circe. I had some ideas going in, again, sort of pulling off of what Karen Lawrence describes as the second half of the novel is pilfering a lot of the styles from the first part of the novel. I was like, "Okay, great. I can use that for Circe, and in Circe I'll pull sort of the same style from Hades. I'll pull some of the same style from Proteus, and I'll rethink it and rework it for Circe," but then I realized that with 150 pages and with a rather insane ... Again, if any of you are familiar with the novel, a rather insane plot, things that happen, there was no way that I was going to be able to find all of the collage elements or that I was going to be able to print or typeset all of these things. I knew I had to change my initial thought. I was pretty uncomfortable with it because ... I mean, it's an uncomfortable chapter, so it was like that kind of felt right.

I ended up working in a process called a silkscreen monoprint, and that's what you see here. This was my first batch that I was texting people. I was like, "Can I do this? Does this look horrible?" I did end up pursuing it, and I felt a little bit better about it, but it was kind of nice to feel uneasy because it's a very uneasy chapter. It's a very gritty chapter. The way that the silkscreen monoprint works is you can actually just draw directly onto the silkscreen with anything water-soluble, so I was using chalk pastels, Conte crayons, just water-soluble markers, pencils. The chalk pastel gets pulled into this medium that you then squeegee across the drawing, and so you can see in various places this grittiness.

Here's an example of two very different pulls. On this one, I used a gel medium that was completely clean. I wanted it to be bright. When I was here, I wrote a lot of papers about the soap. Again, I don't know if any of you have read the book, but I got really excited about the soap in Ulysses. This is one portrait of the soap that Bloom buys, and so that's with a very clean ... I want it to be clean and bright. I want it to kind of pop out out of some of the other murkier pages. The other one, after I pulled with the monoprint, I would actually get gel that had pulled up some of the pigment. For example, this soap one was very orange and green, but others were ... If I used any black at all, it would just turn gray, and so I started printing with that gray material, so the background for some of the Circe images would be very gritty and very dark.

This is where Paddy Dignam comes back from the dead and is talking to Bloom, and so I knew that, for that page, I wanted it to be grittier. Here's another suite of a few of them. Again, you can see I was able to start harnessing that grittiness which, at first, was very distracting and difficult for me to deal with as an artist. I was fighting against it, but I soon realized that if I just let it lead me that it was really going to be the right way to approach Circe, a pretty unapproachable thing.

This is a picture of the full project at the end of it. The physical artifact of the piece is in these eight binders, but that's not really how I saw the end product. The end product is the book that's, I think, still circulating. I scanned all the images and I created this book. You can self-publish books. It's kind of amazing. This is what I have. I'm, at this point, trying to figure out in which direction I'm going to take it. Is it an artist book that can be read completely separate from Ulysses but has this added depth if you know the text or want to be interested in the text, or is it sort of an aid to reading Ulysses? Is it a kind of twin to the Gabler edition that you can read together and that will expand your reading experience? I learned so much about the text doing this project, and I hoped to convey some of that knowledge in the drawings, but of course, you won't see exactly what I was trying to make you see, so there's always going to be that gap.

That's what I'm grappling with now, and I'm super excited to take any questions people have about that or about my butterfly piece, which we are also celebrating tonight. 

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