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Reign: Consonants and Vowels
Reign: Consonants and Vowels
altered page from, France and The French Revolution; Historical Sketch 1792-1815
9 ½ x 9 ½ x 6 in.
2016

This work is a metamorphosis from printed text, to empty space, from book page to dust. Complete words are illegible, but the remnants of broken letters are seen and felt by viewing and touching the crater-like surfaces of the pages. Inspired by George Perec’s book, A Void, in which there is not one word with the vowel ‘E’ in his novel, it is both a mystery about a missing person as well as referencing an entire ethnicity, the Jewish people, being expunged from a society. My piece also entitled Reign: Consonants and Vowels, after George Perec, takes the idea further by purifying the text or eliminating the minority of letters. In part one, all of the vowels are removed, until only consonants remain; part two reverses the idea where all of the consonants are removed and only the vowels appear on the page and in part three vowels and constants appear, segregated but on the same page spread. Depending upon which political power is controlling a nation, in the most severe ideology, the government in power determines who lives and dies, the reigning regime controls the direction of a people.

As metaphor, by removing all ethnic groups from a country a false sense of purity is declared in the same way the Nazis attempted to wipe out the Jewish people. Part two of the piece although technically it is not a lipogram, only vowels remain. In both versions of either eliminating vowels or consonants the fabric of the paper is damaged in the same manner when the majority of a people attempt to destroy a minority the essence of the society is broken, torn apart forever.

Excising portions of text from the page is accomplished by drilling out each word, afterwards, frayed shadows become former selves and only hollowed out letters remain. Since the obliterated text can no longer be read, the page becomes a memory of a memory. What we see in place of the original text is a mysterious calligraphy, pierced and fragmented by the gouged spaces in the center of each letter. Each page becomes a palimpsest and palindrome, a white veil through which the underlying surface can be glimpsed, but when the page is turned the veil remains. A visual, rather than a linear read is necessary to understand the meta-language created by the syntax of disparate vowels, consonants and empty spaces.