This symposium, organized by one of my former professors Dr. Kristin Matthews, looks fantastic. In addition to considering the ethical and aesthetic implications of war art, the symposium includes an exhibition at the BYU Museum of Art titled At War! The Changing Face of American War Illustration. The exhibit showcases the work of Norman Rockwell, James Montgomery Flagg, Chandler Christie, and Walt Disney, and multiple media representations of war. To read more about the symposium and to register (the deadline is February 21), visit the website.
While Amanda is plowing through her prelims list and Becca is planning an excursion to the other side of the globe, I am engaged in huswifery and searching for jobs. I have time to read whatever I want and pursue a book art project I have cooking in my brain and sizzling in my fingertips (if I can only get up the courage to work on it). Something has given me courage, however, and it is discovering Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes.
The book is a die-cut version of Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles. Square holes on each printed page allow the reader to peer into the future of the book (Jonathan Gibbs at Tiny Camels gives a great description of what reading the book is like; it’s exactly how I felt). Completing books has never been my strong suit, and with this book it seems as though completion is a false expectation. It could never be completed. Like a poem or scripture, it is a text that can be revisited time after time to discover new combinations of words, new meanings, new emotional resonances. It is a book whose form is instantaneously capable of expressing its essential multifariousness. It draws attention to the creative, participative act of reading.
Bits of poetry culled from several different pages: “The sad origin of these eccentricities was ready to scatter into fragments. My father would walk along he always featherless empty days and nights.” This exercise in reading reminds me of writing poetry in high school (and now), with efforts at combination and recombination sometimes shameful, sometimes emotionally or verbally superfluous, but precious just the same for all their striving. Another: “All I wanted was to experience full,” and another: “Time filled the room, spread[ing] the silent the bright silence rising.”