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Using Form as a Constraint to Express Non-linear Narratives: A Creative Bookmaking Workshop at Harvard

I designed and performed this workshop during metaLAB's Wintersession course, Appropriate Memories: A Photography Remix Studio at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts (CCVA) at Harvard University in January 2016.


Through this workshop I wanted to encourage exploring the
possibilities of generating abstract narratives through the physical form of a book. Students learned basic bookmaking techniques, to sew pamphlet stitch booklets, and also constructed folding maze books.

One piece of paper, and a few folds and cuts later, students had created their first vessel for an abstract narrative.

Students created final projects influenced by their reaction to the diverse archive of photos in the Association of Professional Photographers Collection now held at the Harvard Art Museum.

One inspired student, Boya Guo, MFA student of the Harvard GSD, chose to make a maze book for her final project, titled Zooscape, for the studio course (see below).



Below is a non-linear maze book created by Harvard GSD student Boya Guo. Boya's visual content for her book was collected from performing a tag search of "animals" within the American Professional Photographers Collection (APPC).

Artist: Boya Guo
Title: Zooscape
Artist Statement: Zooscape describes the situation that zoo is being spectated by humans. It also means animals in the zoo want to escape.
Text: A poem--"The Song of Lunch"--written by Christopher Reid, 2009.

The Song of Lunch is a nostalgic narrative poem, telling the story of a publishing editor who has lunch with an old flame in a Soho restaurant. The first part of this poem expresses the nuanced feeling of "a larger excruciation" and "breaking free" of middle class in the modern ages. That is also analogical to the conditions of animals.