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Francis Worthing
Level 3: 206 points
Last Logged In: September 27th, 2013
Humanitarian Crisis Rank 1: Peacekeeper Biome Rank 1: Hiker Chrononautic Exxon Rank 1: Clockwatcher

15 + 82 points

The Permanent Collection by Francis Worthing

October 16th, 2008 12:27 PM

INSTRUCTIONS: Surreptitiously place a book of your creation into a public library, such that it will likely be mistaken for part of its collection.

Letters, as the least efficient, least practical, and least used, are also my favorite form of communication. There is something deeply personal and deeply pleasing about opening an envelope addressed to you, sort of like opening a present, or a very small, flat treasure chest. (OK, fine, maybe not like a treasure chest...) Thus, I decided to compile a book of letters: love letters, to be precise. main_101620081139pic69651.png
The letters were in envelopes, which I sealed, so that the first person, at least, would have to tear open the envelopes to read them. (In an artist statement for this book, I suppose I might have said something about the act of opening a letter intended for someone else. This is an idea I... er... blatantly ripped off of a project my art teacher in eighth grade told me about.) main_101620081141pic69655.pngmain_101620081141pic69663.pngmain_101620081141pic69662.pngmain_101620081141pic69657.png
(I also added my own little love letter at the end of the book.)

As a first-year student, I have not yet furnished my dorm room with book-making supplies, which means I had to improvise a bit. There was no tape or glue, so I bound the book by hand (using a needle--technically two, because I broke one of them--and thread). I also had to, er, scrounge a little bit to find paper to write the letters on.
One is on a bit of paper bag, one on a page from my journal, one from the back of a jumbo-sized envelope, one on water-color paper, one on paper from my geology notebook. (The one I wrote was on legal pad paper, but there is not a picture of it here.)

Our school library is large and generally accessible, but I hid my book in the nearby public library.
The book itself looks very home-made, so I have my doubts as to whether or not anyone will actually mistake it for part of the collection, but they might find it, at least, which make me just as happy.

So--er--there's my first attempt at completing a task. Acceptable?

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24 vote(s)

Favorite of:


awesomefirst, handwriting, love

10 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Lincøln on October 16th, 2008 12:54 PM

Better than acceptable. Good job. Welcome to the game.

(no subject)
posted by Francis Worthing on October 17th, 2008 7:26 AM

Thank you so much!

Spot On.
posted by Waldo Cheerio on October 16th, 2008 2:47 PM

I like it, and look forward to your future praxis. You've figured out all the tools at your disposal -- good photography, good narrative, good attitude towards the effort itself.

While the book creation alone would technically qualify for Unusual Edition, I think you made the right choice in submitting this under The Permanent Collection, because this praxis seems much more about the interaction with the reader than the act of creation itself. The scrap paper, the choice of love letters, still sealed in envelopes, all of that creatively goes against the expectations of a library patron, and I like that aspect a good deal.

Edit -- Moreover, how did you manage such beautiful and assorted handwritings?

(no subject)
posted by Francis Worthing on October 17th, 2008 7:22 AM

There are actually pages upon pages of horribly failed handwriting attempts all over my room right now.

Thank you so much!

(no subject)
posted by saille is planting praxis on October 16th, 2008 6:40 PM

as another relative noob jumping in with both feet, welcome :)

I have quite a soft spot for letters, particularly unusually shared ones, and if I found this in the library it would make my day... week... month, maybe, and I would have great difficulty not ripping every single one open in an effort to save some for the next person to discover it. That is lovely.

(no subject)
posted by Francis Worthing on October 17th, 2008 7:26 AM

I very much hope that it makes someone's day. Thank you so much!

(no subject)
posted by Jennifer Juniper on October 17th, 2008 6:59 AM

This reminds me of Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, which may have been the project your 8th grade art teacher was talking about?

griffin-sabine-open.jpg[Photo borrowed from]

P.S. I think many of us would love to see you update this praxis with the full text of the letters. Is that possible, or are the only copies now sealed inside envelopes?

It's very lovely.

(no subject)
posted by Francis Worthing on October 17th, 2008 7:25 AM

This looks amazing, although the project she was referring to was one she had done herself, as part of her senior thesis.

And! Regarding the letters: Most of them I found online, so I can certainly update with the texts of those letters. Others, I got from a book, so I can certainly provide that one as well. The only one I can't provide is the one I wrote myself, partly because it would be embarrassing, and partly because I actually just don't have it any more. So! Yes. I will get on that ASAP.

Thank you so much.

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on October 19th, 2008 2:15 PM

Welcome! This is great. I like the idea of combining letters and a book, and also your masterful application of the materials at hand for tasking. (I think it's best to do a task when the spirit strikes you, rather than waiting for optimal resource availability.) Looking forward to seeing more of your creations.

(no subject)
posted by Charlie Fish on November 3rd, 2008 10:00 AM

What a fantastic first completion! You rock!