I recently revisited "Lines Left Out", an installation that I made four years ago for the Big
Read Project of Sonoma County. I was invited to create an installation in response to the
selected book, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. A friend's book group recently read the
book and invited me to talk about what I had done.
An opportunity to revisit, review and possibly rethink the project and how it is still
influencing my current work. At the time I found it ironic that themes of the book that
interested me most, were issues that I needed to address in the making of the installation.
Issues such as: What gets seen? What gets cut? Who decides? How that process happens?
How pace can affect what gets seen, remembered and forgotten.
I received the invitation in July of '07 and installed it in early October, only three months to
create and install it. The Library Gallery at Sonoma State is a large space and I work slowly.
Could I do this? Given my interest in the changing role of books and screens of technology,
I had already started this work without knowing. I inventoried what I had: book covers &
parts, organza silk, silk-screened American target silhouettes, prints, a salvaged structure,
bamboo, and 4 x 4 blocks.
My challenge was to put them together in a form that spoke to the feeling and space of
Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury's themes from 1953 are still relevant today. Magritte and the
silhouette, surrealism, photography, walls, mirrors, memory & memorials, and the dandelion
came to mind. I "burned to keep a focus!" to the rhythms of Bradbury's words: "Quick. Click, Pic,
Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What,
Where, Eh?" Cut, Cut, Cut. A process; cutting became a way to reflect on a theme of the book.
After deinstalling, I made Lines Left Out, an iphoto book that records a poetic response to my
installation experience, using landscape, artwork, book parts, and images of the art
installation. The visual poem was inspired by Paul Klee's concept of drawing, "taking the line
for a walk", the words of New Zealand artist, Hadwen, as he described landscape as "the place
where everything we see, know, and imagine exists...a field punctuated by natural and
introduced landmarks that exist not only in the physical sense, but as signifiers of our
mental, psychological and spiritual world.", and Dorothy Richardson (Pilgrimage), turn of the
20th century author committed to wandering in territory of the tangential with the belief that
"nothing is a side issue".
I showed this iphoto book as a slide show to the book group. And upon reflection, I realize
how this work was a beginning and has since stimulated the iterations, "Cuttings" and
head is churning in anticipation for the next iteration.