This week we’re returning to our old friend Hiromi Suzuki, who has recently released logbook.
logbook fits with a tradition of artists and poets making collage books as a meditative activity. This differs from the usual way we look at a book, instead of simply being the vehicle for the poems or text, the books is itself a tangible art-object.
While Suzuki in this excursion is more of an artbook than a poetry one, we see similar playfulness to the work when we first noticed it back in issue #5.
These punning on structures and objects in Suzuki’s style, layered texture and a glitching/washing out of various elements on the page is where we start exploring the themes of the book.
Punning, and the kind of wordplay-with-structures is a kind of pure and childish entertainment. It scratches at some direct sense of pleasure you get from connecting two things oddly but correctly.
There is a strong theme of nostalgia here, as if the memories present the broken up views of children in a world not quite made to their scale, obscured and moved often against their will.
(all images are segments clipped from the book, not full pages)
Hiromi’s mission statement, at an early break in the book, is that by producing these things as a form of automatic writing they are engaging with them as memories. Somehow I feel this is about respecting the subconscious tar-pit part of the brain where your basic urges bubble up from. By giving over to the part of the brain that applies pressures without form Hiromi builds up these sketches of scenes/memories in the way we form them in our minds — not complete or scrutinizable.
Poets and artists who use book making as a form often engage with it upon a similar line to Suzuki’s — taking something away from themselves in creating the object, removing some kind of authorship. Anne Carson said similarly of NOX, a grief object for her estranged late brother, using the form of definitions to develop her own responses. I wonder if it is in the obviousness of where things go when they are physically placed before you that leads to this, or the ritualization that comes from it. A ritual has to involved the whole body somehow.
A later part of the artist’s statement says that Hiromi creates a collage each night before falling asleep as an act of forgetting, distraction, allowing the ritual obviousness of the collage dig into part of the brain and produce the work without conscious presence.
This week’s song is, of course, Childish Gambino’s This Is America.
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own. I, @CJEggett, writer of newsletters and proofreader of none, have been cycling in the sunshine all week and really couldn’t be fuller with love for the world or vitamin D. You can read this online, later. I got a really nice email from probably my favourite publishing house saying they want to send me things to review, so there will be more of that sort of thing to come.