Rondo, 2009 / Edition of 10 / Archival inkjet images and text, typewriter on Dobbin Mill papers, DVD: Mrs. Wolf’s Dream (5 minutes)
Size: 17.5” x 12.5” x 0.875”
My Rondo is based on István Örkény’s impressive microfiction, which includes
irony, culture-specific details, musical references, and a Post-Modern tempo all in his to the point story of typist Mrs. Wolf. Its density literally acquired an outsized form when it is here re-written and re-interpreted as an artist book, where the musical rondo form clashes with its Post-Modern rhythm. The choreography of the read is defined by both typography and its manipulation, as it is by the structure when the reader moves back and forth through pages attached left and right. The two booklets are bound inside the case that is triptych in form. The narrative, about a female typist, Mrs. Wolf, who works in an office for 25 years, is transformed into a sound poem and homage to ‘support staff’ (so often women), who are the small cogs in social systems.
A performance on DVD is included in the book. The music, Mrs. Wolf’s Dream, was composed and performed by Hungarian percussionist András Dés, who used paper I made for him as his instrument.
I designed several kinds of papers for Rondo: I wanted the act of reading to create sound, so I made 2 vellum-like hemp papers of varying weights, which had very different rattles when the pages were turned. The cover paper also has a particular sound (as its made of crisp rag) and is pulp painted with my commentary text about the book. A sheet of intense blue paper, thin and sharp in feel, while lighter in color still refers to the carbon paper of yore.
Hungarian percussionist András Dés was invited to collaborate and perform at the opening reception at the Petofi Museum, Budapest, where Rondo was first exhibited. The music, "Mrs. Wolf’s Dream”, made on my paper as his instrument, was so exciting & fresh that I asked if I could include it in the book. The DVD holds 2 variants of this performance: first minutes one sees nothing but hears the recording done in a sound studio; only in the second half does the viewer see that Dés is not performing on a typewriter but rather on a single piece of paper.
Here’s an abbreviated version of the artist book’s text, eliminating most of the repetitions:
She pulls a slip of paper from the carriage of her typewriter.
she takes two new slips of paper.
she slides a sheet of carbon paper between them.
She has been working for the same firm for twenty-five years.
She eats a cold sandwich for lunch.
She lives alone.
Her name is Mrs. Wolf.
Remember the name.
Mrs.Wolf. Mrs.Wolf. Mrs.Wolf.