Doug Beube
Wallpaper Selfie
2018
Altered Book
10 x 8 x 1
To view animation click here:Wallpaper Selfie

“In my mind there was the intention to create; and in my heart I began to see subtle visions. There in my mind and with my mind I saw several seemingly independent universes. In them all I also saw my own counterparts—creators. In those universes I saw all kinds of beings, as also mountains and rivers, oceans and wind, sun and heavenly beings and the netherworld and the demons.”

Vasistha’s Yoga
Swami Venkatesananda

The quote from Vasistha’s Yoga references how the layers of creation is a reflection of the universe within every human being. I created a visual simulation using ‘Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Abrahams that reflects the void giving rise to the microscopic and microscopic worlds. To accomplish this I altered a copy of Abrahams book, a compilation of wallpapers with the silhouette of my head cut out from the front and back covers and on every page. When each page from the altered book is turned, the clarity of my silhouette morphs into the shape of a flame then metaphorically into the shape of a vagina. There’s an empty space in the center of nearly every page, except for two middle pages, where midway through no cutout silhouettes appear. In the reverse, halfway through the book, turning each page, the female form symbolizes the birthing process as the outlined shape of my head is revealed. On either side of the silhouettes are various size holes punched into the pages around the center. Each page is uniquely configured, alluding to the macroscopic worlds of galaxies and planets and the microscopic views of the veins of plants or organic matter, for example.
When I began altering the book I had a basic idea of cutting my silhouette out on each page and punching holes around the empty spaces symbolizing the void as a constant and the changing and frenetic world as the randomly placed holes. I had no intention of the book taking on the metaphor of ‘birth’ and transformation. The book designed itself and I became the facilitator of a self-portrait. Initially I thought of my ‘self-ie’ on every page, alluding to both self/portraits hanging on the walls in homes. Over decades of family portraits with characteristically different histories of wallpaper viewed in households the idea of the self-portrait gave rise to the selfie. Each pattern of wallpaper influences the void, and vice versa, with its swarming galaxies or infinitesimal worlds creating a visual dialogue between the silhouette and the combinations of wallpapers. One might think of the traditional self-portrait (or everyone’s picture) through the contemporary notion of a ‘selfie’ as, my face in your home.
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