The Space within a Book

There is no practical space between the covers of a book; it is, after all, filled with pages. Even so, the text and images contained within a book hold the power to open up wide vistas, peek around corners, open cupboard doors and visualize the un-seeable. We have the capacity to conjure ideas of space in our minds and the stories, texts and pictures in books facilitate this process. Every time we open the covers of a book we are prepared to let our minds go places, spaces far distant from the one we physically occupy. Gaston Bachelard, in The Poetics of Space touches on this “imagined vastness” in his piece on “intimate immensity” which, according to him, we can readily access through a daydreamt space.

So, what happens with one of my altered books, gutted of its pages, replaced with a constructed physical space? I think that the unconscious expectations of being led by the text to an imagined space would be momentarily set aback. The unexpected sight of actual space in the book would at first be disorientating. But, we immediately shift to a wondering receptivity of this real space because the content of the assemblage is still akin to the usual contents of a book. I have a reverence for books and the imagining consciousness that they encourage, in fact most of the “things” I place in these booked spaces, the images and texts, come from books. But by presenting a boxed assemblage artwork within the covers of a book the imagined book space and the physical space between the covers create a slight tension, sort of a gentler version of the theoretical meeting of matter and anti-matter.

I’ve always worked by building a con-fusion of disparate elements. And by applying this assemblage technique to books I’ve brought together two distinct forms of space. There is an auditory phenomenon of when two musical notes, a fundamental and it’s harmonic, are sounded simultaneously, a third note is perceived by the listener. Likewise, I think my book assemblage pieces create a third space by bringing the physical and imagined spaces together. I strive to create in my altered book assemblages a qualitative thought process, which takes place in the cracks of language. They convey poetic thought, the place between the words and the things depicted, the minds own architectural space where contemplative thought resides.