Amanuensis

Amanuensis, 2009 / Edition of 5 / Glass, gold gild, & archival inkjet on Dobbin Mill papers

Size: 8” x 6” x 7.25”

The artist book, Amanuensis, uses text, its reflection, and reduction, along with the expressiveness of its precious materials: gold gilded mirror, paper, & silk on glass – to describe the loss of one’s identity.  The 6 mirrors reflect a text printed in reverse, and therefore can only be understood by reading in its reflection.  In addition, the same text is repeated from pamphlet to pamphlet, but it consecutively loses letters until we are left only with a reflection of a partial signature.

 

The reversed text describes losing the ability to write, in particular, to sign one's own name. A signature is considered the written mark of our name or identity.

An amanuensis is a person whose employment is to write what another dictates, or to copy what has been written by another.

Additional Thoughts:

The mirror most often functions to reflect the reversed image of our physical selves; that reversed reflection becomes the simulacrum of self-identity. But, I question if that image has much to do with who we really are. The signature, on the other hand, is considered to be one of the representations or proofs of identity. As Johanna Drucker has pointed out, one of the “functions of writing is to provide an image of the self.”

Wooden cases were made by András Börörcz