For reasons hard to explain, I spent several years photographing the cemeteries of Western Canada. When asked why, I have no slick answer: I did not set out to pursue such a study. Nonetheless, I traveled tens of thousands of miles: highways, gravel roads, mud and dirt trails. Fort Assiniboine to Val Marie, Hinton to Dauphin, each year a different route. I shot countless frames of film, wrote reams of journal entries, and jotted marginal notes on county maps. I even wrote a book.
For years I kept those maps and journals in a box in the basement. But events conspired and I recently gained some square footage in the basement ( my partner calls it my mancave ). The maps have been torn and stapled to a carboard wall - the prairies remixed - a giant grid ripped to shreds. Hundreds of churches, cemeteries, and relic settlements are circled. Some margin notes have been preserved. There was plan of sorts. It was fun. I had to find some way to deal with those damn maps. I have an idea what to do with the negatives and slides, too - but that’s for another time.
I have always been fascinated by artist’s books. My mancave is chock full of artifacts ready to morph into more than merely stacks of stuff. But, in the meantime, the marginal notes and journal entries have become poems. In bookish, a digital media collaboration with babel, those poems have been broken into random lines that appear on the facing page of a book-like interface. The adjoining page repeats a database of funerary images. Keyboard score is by my rock’n'roll buddy, Dennis Meneely.
Bookish is an electronic artists’ book. Click on image: