Hand-painting, Ink, Monoprint, Rubbing
11.5 × 9.5 × 0.5 in
College of Saint Benedict & Saint John's University
This unique book is a meditation on the fragility of recorded thoughts and history. With a bleak tone connoting violence, the book highlights chaotic attempts to limit and wipe out knowledge for the purpose of control and maintenance of power. It documents incidents of libricide in Dresden, Berlin, Washington, DC, Toronto, and Baghdad; including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory tragedy in Manhattan to draw a connection between people perishing by fire and the burning of treasured memories. Research was done using the text “A Universal History of the Destruction of Books” by Fernando Baez and features the poem “Forever Parted: Graveyard” by Chinese poet Gu Cheng. Wax rubbings were taken from brass plaques on the floor of the St. Clement Danes Cathedral in London. Additional rubbings were also taken from Union Square in New York City. The book is comprised of handwritten text, stamps, rubbings, sandy textures, stains, brushstrokes, and handprints on Japanese paper.
“as good almost kill a man as kill a good book” -John Milton, Areopagitica (1644)
“I can only use my life’s gentlest breath to make a single line of marks worth puzzling over.” -Gu Cheng (1956)