This book is what is called an Artist's Book, where the words, form, design, materials and illustrations all work to portray a larger message than a single text, picture or sculpture could otherwise do.
This one is a hand-built box book with scroll out poem, accordion pop outs, wire shopping cart and working LED light system.
The text reads:
I saw her there this morning.
Lying in the grass, legs spread
victimized and alone
unable to right herself.
Someone had taken her from her home
pushed her around, used her
and dumped her off here.
And the strangers just passed her by
all day, not thinking twice
just looking and walking away.
I admit that I did not help her
let her lie there all day, on her side
feet flailing in the wind and the traffic.
Kept looking through the window,
checking to see if anyone had
stood her up and taken her home.
What kind of person
feels sorry for
a shopping cart?
This book was a labor of love for me. I wrote the poem first and for a long, long, time I thought about how to turn that idea into a book.
When viewing, the participant pulls the scroll up out of the top of the glowing box to read the poem. When you get to the end of the scroll, the top of the box lifts off and the sides of the box pop open to reveal the shopping cart, mirrors, lights and accordion pop-outs (each have pictures of a shopping cart tipped over).
The bigger idea behind this book is that the poem, Abandon, is written from the perspective of someone observing an abandoned battered woman lying on the side of the street, people walking by--the observer walking by--and no one "standing her up...taking her home." The reader only realizes with the last line, "What kind of person feels sorry for a shopping cart?" that the poem isn't about a woman at all. Every time I perform this poem, people in the audience always say, "You got me!!" and I know that it worked--they had an emotional response for something that was not alive--they cared, even for a brief moment, about the well-being of something else. My goal with this poem and more-so with this book, is to get as many people to have that reaction as possible to raise awareness about domestic violence, especially against women and LGBTQ individuals.
If I can get someone to have an emotional response for something that isn't alive, then maybe those people will remember that when it's a real person. I know they will all think about it (and hopefully so will you) next time you go to buy groceries.
Dimensions: Box is approx. 10"x8"x7" when closed, 4 times the size when open.