What To Do If You Are Passed a Book

Add your petition and pass the book onto someone who will do the same. Please send the book back when full or if you have no one you can pass it to. The deadline of April 1. 2011, is to avoid the postal increase set to happen mid April. Send it back even if you miss the deadline. By putting the Petition Box Project address as the return address also, the additional postage will be covered on this end.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Making these books are time consuming but also meditative. They create a kind of bizarre poetry of snipped directives, ploys, marketing nonsense, everyday banality. Vulgar comes to mind, in its original sense,  referring to being derived from the common people, way back in the 14th C.

It will be interesting to read the written petitions interspersed with the printed recycled materials....

Friday, December 10, 2010


I had one of those bizarre memories that pop out from the mist of distant past while in the zen of collating pages to these books. When I was a very young kid, the elders in my world, would occasionally talk about someone and a disease called 'Consumption" in the same conversation. It was such a strange word, I imagined people being swallowed up like quicksand, only a hand is visible, then gone. I had to look up what it was. Well, as it turns out, Tuberculosis, aka Consumption, is a type of bacterial infection, that until the late 19th and early 20th C had no cure until the invention of antibiotics. It 'consumed' whole populations and is still a disease afflicting and even killing people all over the world, including the US.

I can't help but feel a connection between Consumption, as a word (noun) and a disease (verb) to that of consumerism. I am not making judgement on it, but making an observation, that in the process of consuming everything we want or see in our culture, we can become ill at ease (dis-ease) with the nature of who we are, literally and metaphorically......


I was making another version of my recycled books for this project, using junk mail, old test prints and various paper pieces that have made their way to me just from living in this world. Which got me to thinking...  These books of recycled paper are a snap shop of life, which is what interested me in doing them. It occurred to me, that they measure of a life within a place and time. It could be that of a number of people, but not everyone...who would 'they' be? People who fit my demographic, marketing profile, perhaps. That would not be everyone. What about those people who live much closer to the bone than I currently do? Definitely not, especially if they are not in the visual arts.  Been there, seen it. I am shocked at the kind of material I get sometimes and the assumptions they make because of age, gender or buying habits. What about those who live more extravagantly than myself? Or are part of other ethnic groups? Live in different countries? Couldn't tell you.

I used to believe that we all share common experiences and common life, and therefore there is not distinct stratification. That may be more of an illusion though. We congregate in familiar places, group ourselves and create unwittingly (?) circles of influence and confluence. Some circles rarely if ever meet. Is that really any different than the idea of stratification?

This project has made me much more aware of circles.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Next?

I had the serendipitous pleasure of taking part in Tino Segal's "This Progress" at the Guggenheim this past winter just as I was starting the Petition Box Project. Fortunately, I was unaware of the work before walking into the museum. It was an exciting interaction and in a way, affirmation that there is value in the art of engagement. For those who are not familiar with Segal's work, here is a brief excerpt from a paper I'd written in Feb 2010:

I was greeted as I started up the rotunda ramp of the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, by an eight year old looking boy named Eric. He stepped right in front of me, hands behind his back, head cocked and looking me straight in the eyes said, “Can I ask you a question?” How could I resist?

“Is progress a good thing or a bad thing?” he asked. I had to do a double take and a question of my own popped into my head unspoken, “What kind of eight year old asks a question like that?” I responded, that it depended upon how we define progress, to which he asked how I defined it. I was again stunned at the level of engagement from such a young museum ‘goer’.

As we made our way up the ramp, Eric peeled off and a teenage boy picked up the conversation where we left off. The realization that this was not an ordinary museum “goer”, but possibly part of something bigger dawned on me as we proceeded up the ramp, continuing a more indepth conversation about progress. Before we finished, the young man was replaced by a middle-aged woman who also picked the threads about progress and we continued upward. The questions and conversation became more complex and the issue of progress was becoming both positive and negative, sometimes waffling back and forth within the same thought. Finally an older man named Bob tied up the last of the conversation before walking away, his final words were a credit to the artist, Tino Sehgal and his piece, "This Progress". 

I was invigorated and excited about this new type of aesthetic experience.