Saturday, March 22, 2008

maps, books, and homepage

Hey K,
Wow! Do you have a copy of that front page newspaper image?---sounds adorable!! I used to LOVE "Highlights," especially the "Hidden Pictures" page. I think I tried making my own hidden pictures without much success. Maybe if I try again as an adult?

It's perfect that you're getting hitched in the library. When you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between libraries and churches. The parallel lines of shelves and pews, smells of historical significance, older sweet ladies willing to guide you, and the quietness of getting lost in your thoughts---I'm certain I have had a spiritual awakening at the library.

Your blogs led me into many directions (like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, I had to decide what to think about). After sitting on it a few minutes, I realized how connected these paths were. So, I think I told you about the citywide Maps thing going on recently (Festival of Maps--with just about every art-place in Chicago participating). Well, there is an especially good exhibit at the Cultural Center called HereThereEverywhere, exploring maps as interpretive and reflective of both physical and psychological experience. More than defining geographic and directional sensitivities, the artists in this show explore the metaphorical power of mapping. Josh Dorman's work (at top) focuses on the mapping of internal geographies, specifically dealing with the elusive nature of memory. He's actually working with Alzheimers and Dementia patients. When I took my students to the exhibit, the curator was wandering around, listening to our conversation. She gave us some insight into this piece:Invasive Species, New York by Draga Susanj

Apparently, these are chestnut pods, native to her childhood home of Serbia. She lives in the U.S. now, and has been finding these, surprisingly, and collecting them. Although they act as objects that connect her to her past place, they are considered invasive to her current ecology. In this formation they resemble, as my students put it, "millions of little battleships coming to destroy the earth." I could go on and on about this show, but...

I'm off track. Books, also beautiful objects, seem to be getting a similar sort of attention. Now that the book has been translated, summarized, cut-up, and read out of context in the form of interweb information, there is a certain romance to them. Like the map after mapquest, books have lost their appeal, or place, or purpose?, which is why artists have taken to them once again. Time to re-invent, re-value, and re-write into daily life. I can't admit to being on the same enthusiastic page as you (you have a binding history with books), but I love the conceptual framework and intertextuality of the book. So...when are we going to explore our HomePage brainstorms?


(all stupid puns intended)
Joy Episalla: 2nd image from the top

No comments: