Posts Tagged Yolunda Hickman

Yolunda Hickman, Acre, (2011), 64 books

Acre. Each book holds 253 A3 pages which, if laid out side by side instead of being stacked and bound, would equal the equivalent of 1/64th of an acre in surface area. The whole work is 64 books (16 192 A3 pages) divided and bound in equal fractions of the whole.  Each book is numbered on the spine, 1 through 64, and weighs 4.5 kg, totaling 288 kilograms for the pile. The scale of 1:64 is a common scale ration for die-cast models, and allows the books to be divided fractionally into halves, quarters, eighths, and so on. As the work was installed, it is close to A1 (four A3) in size which is a metric measurement compared to the imperial acre.Each book is its own space, but also part of the whole.

Acre, is a way to break down the world into more containable, manageable, understandable pieces so that it becomes a relatable physical, visual representation. Acres as a unit of measurement are only used for land and is becoming obsolete but still relatively widely understood. I wanted to see a whole acre in a single glance, without turning my head or missing a piece. An acre of land becomes folded down into a paper form, similar to the way a large road map is folded. The representation of landscape collapses into a hand held object.

I kind of joked that I can’t afford my own acre of land, so instead I’ll just make my own acre of paper. I’ll just live in books instead.

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Earth Bound Sky Bound

Last year, one of my favourite artists, Daniel Eatock released a book, Earth Bound Sky Bound with the small Venice based publishing company Automatic Books. The publication is a selection of 52 landscape photographs with the horizon line hidden in the binding of the book.

Eatock says: “The photographs are not precious and special, they are just a set of snap shots that are unified by the horizontal line of the horizon. When I took the photographs I was happy and inspired in a cliche way, a took a snap shot of the view to mark the special moment. I did not take them as ‘beautiful photographs’ instead see them an amateur snap shots of ‘beautiful moments’. They have not been taken consciously in preparation for a project, unlike the other sets of photographs on my website. I only noticed them as a set by chance as I was sorting through my photo archive and wanted to unify them and work with them. Not highlighting any one picture or showing how beautiful they are but to deal with them in a semi rational way. Then I arrived at the idea of hiding the line of the horizon in the margins of a book. Hiding the point of interest.”

In some pages the obscured horizon line is imposed by the viewer, using the shadowed biding space as an assumed horizon line. In other pages, there is a noticeable jump of pictorial information between the two separate spaces of earth and sky within the image frame. We know that the horizon exists, but when this particular part of place is hidden in the folds of a glue binding, the infinitude of earth and sky becomes broken and separated. In such, the space is folded.

Eatock breaks one of the basic formatting rules of publishing by losing the page margins into the binding. But when the conventions of book formatting fall back in on themselves, an additional in-between space is created. The book then becomes a sculptural medium rather than simply an information receptacle. The physicality of the object is utilised as a constructed, collapsable space.

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The Future of the Book

Today I read a blog post by author Sam Harris titled The Future of the Book.

“Writers, artists, and public intellectuals are nearing some sort of precipice: Their audiences increasingly expect digital content to be free…Where publishing is concerned, the Internet is both midwife and executioner. It has never been easier to reach large numbers of readers, but these readers have never felt more entitled to be informed and entertained for free.”

While the article focuses largely on the financial and sales impact of the Internet on the publishing industry, it was the title that made me read it. I am intrigued that over my life time, the primary information medium of print – be it books, newspapers or magazines – has been overtaken by pixels on a screen. Digital is often cheaper to produce and more immediately accessible, but can’t be handled like a paper book.

In the past, the printed word in books has been culturally elevated to a cannon of societal truth, but as information changes so rapidly, the production time-frame of print is not longer compatible with the rate of knowledge. Books seem to be passing into decorative curiosity and a nostalgic artifact.

This is perhaps the ideal space for the artist to reclaim the book, when others turn to the digital space of blogs and Kindle. It is an opportunity to share and keep and also places this project in an interesting space: artists using the internet to birth a book.

Yolunda Hickman

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Notional Geography

“What is on the paper map is a representation of what was in the retinal representation of the man who made the map; and as you push the question back, what you find is an infinite regress, an infinite series of maps.”

Gregory Bateson, in “Form, Substance and Difference,” from Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972)

An atlas is a visual depiction of knowledge: a gathering of geographical information compiled and collated to bring before our eyes, in a systematic way, a whole multiplicity of spaces gathered into a single volume.

To make an atlas is to reconfigure space, to redistribute it, to redirect it: to dismantle it where we thought it was continuous; to reunite it where we thought there were boundaries. Bold red lines draw borders across a page, dividing a paper space based either on features of the corresponding actual landscape space or an arbitrary human imposition.

In December 2001, I visited the United States for the first time. We spent New Years at the Ogilby Sand Dunes just outside of Yuma in the Algodones Dunes area, which sit on the border of Arizona, California and Mexico. At midnight we welcomed in the New Year with the usual fanfare and then went to bed. Laying in the RV trying to get to sleep at 1am, the California New Year celebrations from the camp site next door started, delayed because of the different Daylight Savings timezone. On one side of the line we celebrated the New Year an hour earlier than the neighbors barely 300m away. I could see the flashes of their fireworks on the inside of my closed eyelids.

The next morning we rode quad bikes out to the US – Mexican border. At that time, it was marked with a stone obelisk in the middle of the sand dunes (similar to this). The especially consequential red line on the map was denoted by a singular point in an otherwise continuous stretch of sand. Now, a large barrier fence runs the length of the sand dunes, clearly imposing the human line on the landscape space.

I have been working with the idea of borders and edges in relation to maps and actual landscape for over a year which has resulted in a number of paper constructions. The unresolved incarnation pictured above is tentatively titled Globe. Pages from a 1970’s Readers Digest Atlas have been geometrically divided and then reconstructed using Magnus Wenninger’s polyhedron and dual models. The dismantling and reassembling process  returns a flat mapped paper landscape to its original three dimensional form, creating a new space lapse in the translation. The Bay of Biscay now borders the Gulf of Alaska to build a new body of water; a man-made sea on a man-made globe. The two areas are 8104 km apart as the crow flies, but in Globe they are neighbours. They sit side by side and fold away from each other and then back towards another notional geography.

Yolunda Hickman

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