Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 43: Living with the Ghosts

   Have you ever lived in a haunted house? With Halloween coming up next week, ghosts, haunted houses, and unexplained phenomena are common topics of conversation right now. Though there is no real proof that ghosts exist, many people believe in ghosts... and quite a few folks have their own haunted house stories and stories of seeing ghosts! Who knows if it's true?... once you've experienced some unexplained eerie apparition, you never think of ghosts in the same way again. The book-of-the-week for Week 43 is titled Living with the Ghosts. Housed in it's own little book-like box, Living with the Ghosts is centered on a real place... an 100-year-old carriage house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania... and all the ghosts that inhabit it.

the box it rests in...
  A photograph of the wooden backyard fence, partially covered with ivy, hints at the lost stories of the building and the colorful ghosts that still haunt the place. Natural dyes, cochineal, walnut, madder, and osage orange stain the cover paper on the box and the book cover. They mirror rust and the fall colors of the ivy as they allude to ongoing change and transformation... yet with a ghostlike quality of semi-permanence.
the book inside its box case
   The text is hand written on accordion-folded heavyweight paper, which has been cut to form 3 recessed windows. The windows are really inverted box pop-outs. Photographs of two rooms inside the house...a bedroom and the living room... are pasted inside the recessed box pop-ups. Studying the photographs, decor is a mix of old and new things... a 1930's ladies' Panama gardening hat, an antique bed, prints and hat boxes... and their modern-day counterparts... photographs, pottery, books, and sculpture. Side-by-side, the very real objects of modernity abide alongside the relics of another time.

three window pop-outs...
The accordion folded pages can be viewed as single leaves of a book... opening like flower petals,

the book spills out of the box
or the entire structure can be stretched out... like a snake... or a boney skeleton.

Inside, the diary-like text is handwritten along the margins of the pages in train-of-thought style...  with grammatical errors and doodles included.
looking from the living room into the kitchen...
beside the bed, hat-boxes and jewelry boxes
the bedroom...

a line from the book states, "such are the gates of memory." 

Happy Halloween... May all your ghosts be kind.

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