Pigeons and School

So my (never truly) stellar track record of posting every day has somewhat dropped off lately.  The reason is quite simple – I have returned to school!  I’m in the Intermedia MFA program at the University of Maine in Orono.  You may be wondering What (the %^$#) is Intermedia?  Intermedia is by its very nature hard to define.  It is the in between spaces.  It is where things overlap and new things become.  Personally, I’m interested in the places that art, technology and traditional craft overlap.  Other students are interested in where food and art come together.  Or sound and art.  Or writing, art and biology.  The list goes on and on. Most of what unites this group is that we don’t quite fit into any of the other traditionally defined departments within the University structure.  Which is what makes this whole experience so very exciting for me.  We are bounding forward into the unknown and hoping to come back with something amazing. Last week was the very first week of school this fall.  And there have been a lot of adjustments.  Something had to slip a little and it turned out to be this blog. I’m hoping to incorporate this blog as part of my art practice so it is my intention to be better about maintaining it.

ANYwho.

I’m trying to figure out what it is I’m going to work on first.  I think I’m going to go with the spark that was ignited earlier this summer by another class I took at the University.  I believe I mentioned before that I took a book binding class this summer and what a huge impact it had on me.  It reminded me how much I love making books.  Not that I’d really forgotten, just that it had been so long since I’d made one that other things were clouding my memory.  I’ve been wanting to continue playing with books since then and I think this is my opportunity.  So I’ve started doing some research. It’s funny though – research can often be entirely accidental.  You just have to recognize that what you are looking at could have larger implications for you. I’ve been hanging around the library on campus in between classes.  This early in the year, it is nice and quiet.  And it has comfy chairs and wifi.  As I was wandering down one of the mustier isles, this caught my eye:

The Natural History of Animals - spine

My first thought was that it was a skull. I stopped and pulled it off the shelf and looked at the cover:

The Natural History of Animals

Now it was beginning to make sense. I flipped through it just to see if it happened to have any other cool illustrations. And on the last page I found this:

Pigeon - closed

Which was kinda cool. But then I realized that it opened out. And it became SUPER AWESOME.

Pigeon - all three layers open

Each layer revealed something different about the inner working of a pigeon.

Pigeon - circulatory system

Pigeon - wing open

Pigeon - skeleton layer

So. Cool.

And I would have never even known it was there. I just bumbled onto it because I liked the spine of the book. There was no search term that I would have ever thought to use that would have ever turned up something like that. But once I found it, I totally loved it. I’m not sure if I’ll ever do anything with the idea, but just knowing it is there makes me happy.

Yay for libraries!!!

Fogler Library - UMO

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Greg W. on September 7, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Yay for libraries, and Yay for actual books.
    It just shows to go ya how powerful a clever image is. It tickles the brain in a way that nothing else does. This example: 2 colors, no grayscale, small format, the simplest, most restrictive format for an image, but it got you. Amidst a sea of book spines on the shelves, you picked that one. Why? because it had a clever picture, just the right balance of interest and ambiguity to pique your interest and cause you to pull it off the shelf. That picture controlled your behavior in a way, causing you to pull that particular book off the shelf and look through it, which was exactly what it’s creator intended.
    That’s so cool.

    ~Greg

    Reply

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