* SIGH *
I think that's my problem: too much trying and too much sighing. I don't know what's got into me, but despite having spent longer in the studio than normal so far this year I seem to have made less progress. I know what the problem is: first of all I got (and have still got!) my knickers in a twist about wanting to make a "good" book i.e. one that I'm proud of, and secondly I was a bit thrown by Professor Woodrow's attack on all things sculptural in the world of artists' books... The net result is that I've spent the best part of 4 months dilly-dallying around, changing my mind almost daily about what I want to do and what I'm trying to achieve. In the process I am driving myself mad.
Ronnie's stellar success with the BAO Impact 7 proposal throws things into relief! I need to get my knickers un-twisted and actually do some work, so I shut myself in the studio for about 4 hours today with a (small!) packet of Cadburys' mini eggs (yum), a couple of tea bags and a severe telling off, having instructed myself to sort something out. After all, I reasoned, the ironing pile that had suddenly grown so attractive would still be there when I finished AND if I actually manage to do some work I will magically have time to do other things!
Oh, and did I mention I have a big show on in August/September and that I don't actually have any work to go in it yet? Another incentive to get my arse in gear.
These images are very much work in progress - it could all change (although I secretly hope it won't because I can't cope with changing my mind again). I was trying to work out what interests me about the Winterson text, and I think it's about knowledge: the known and the unknown. It's ironic that the Library of Alexandria was the largest collection of knowledge in the world of its time and its reputation survives to this day but we know nothing about what it contained. I surmise - since its first librarian was a student of Aristotle - that Aristotle's Metaphysics would have been in the collection, so that's the origin of the Greek text. I also find it ironic that the pinakes, the first ever library cataloguing system, contained details not only of the author's name, but also his or her place of birth and father's name, establishing their reputation and patrimony... and yet we know nothing at all about the slave boys who found the books. And the irony that knowledge sets one free, but was found by slaves. The owl is Athene's owl, symbol of the Greek goddess of knowledge: Athene, daughter of Zeus, who shared with her father the thunderbolt and the aegis, the goat-skin breastplate that protected them from harm. A seer had predicted that she would be stronger than him, despite Zeus's position as king of the gods on Mount Olympus, so he swallowed her before she was born. His consequent headache was explained when she sprang forth from his skull: knowledge was definitely equal to, if not stronger than power.
I'm posting these pictures as much to put a stake in the ground about my intentions as to show you what I'm doing! Hopefully you'll get something that has a vague connection to these photos in due course. Meanwhile, happy wrestling with your own books and I look forward to seeing the results. I haven't even started thinking about the Beynon poem yet!