Studio Diary, April 23, 2014
Where to start? Updates…let’s see…Future Bear, Issue One is on display on the Rollins College campus at CFAM through the summer. (www.rollins.edu/cfam
) We are giving away free copies of the Future Bear: Mission Book in conjunction with this show. Also on display is a selection of the “Aesthetics of Scale” project created with geographer Lee Lines. As a project about Iceland’s unique energy landscapes, these print-based drawings are really the foundation for further exploration about how development shapes landscape around the world.
Since coming back to work after my fall sabbatical, I have been exploring various book structures and letterpress techniques that may inform our expansion of Future Bear into a community-based collaborative project for this fall. My initial explorations have included mock-ups of card games (with a choose your own adventure-style of play in mind) and possibilities for a second issue of Future Bear that may involve book or box structures.
I have also been working on an altered book-as-travel-journal for my upcoming trip to Namibia, a sparsely populated desert nation located in the South West region of Africa. As a former German colony (later handed over to South Africa) with only about 25 years of true independence under its belt, Namibia is a fascinating study of Africa in the post-apartheid era. All the horrors of colonial rule lie just beneath the surface of this ecotourist’s paradise with its giant sloping sand dunes that dive straight into the cold Antarctic currents of the southern Atlantic Ocean.
The book I have chosen to alter and transform into a journal for my trip is called “The Africans” by David Lamb, a journalist who spent many years living in Africa in the 80’s trying to understand this politically and historically complex continent. I wanted to work inside a pre-existing book about Africa as a way to acknowledge that by altering a previously accepted version of African history, I recognize that all history is constantly under revision and being challenged by those who live in the present. I have been using an erasure technique to create a new text from the old one— a text that highlights my expectations/fears/anticipations about visiting Africa based only on what I have been told, read or seen through various media. It is my hope that these expectations will be challenged and confronted by my actual experiences as I travel through Namibia next month. I will record my observations through drawings and written entires which will be interwoven throughout this altered text. In the end, I want viewers to experience this journal as a collision of what I expected and what I experienced.