"Chickens today feathers tomorrow"

Artichoke Yink Press


Author: C. K. Wilde, box by M.R. Wagner
Edition: Unique
Year: 2001
Price: In Arents collection, NYPL

This book is the product of ten years of smoking. It served as a sketchbook for my musings on the roots of my attraction to such a peculiar activity. The Coptic bound sketch book became a filter mediating my relationship with the material world, specifically the world of smoking. Filter also literally became a filter as I blew into the for-edge to trap my breath and smoke. I covered the casing boards with the paper from the filter on cigarettes. I used a Kanji calligraphy pen with black ink to make the sketches, some have ink washes for spot color. Also Milky Gel rollers for spot gold and white. The icons like the Marlborough man, the G.I.Joe in the trench, and the Camel package are mixed with drawings of cancer cells metastasizing, patients attached to respirators, and people in opium dens. Posters for daredevils and magicians were inspirations, Bergman's Seventh seal 'chess with death' also. Persian manuscripts, the writings of Bukowskie and Cabrera Infante contained resonance as well. The smoking of marijuana , hashish, and opium are included as referent to other histories of human/plant smoking interaction. Ofcourse there is the chroma lithography of the cigar labels and bands, so lush and beautiful, found it's way through . The curing of the tobacco, the preparation in each cigar(ette), the industry built up around a moment of repast. The creation of a finite object, an object of planned obsolescence to be "read" once. So it is an object detailing it's own creation for consumption. The book is the 'eternal' cigar, it can be smoked over and over again. In using up my sketch book I was making it for others to use. I kept drawing, imagining my insides with the outside coming in; all roiling, scalding , smoke. Exhalation made visible, like winter days any where, any time. I breathed into the for-edge to see my breath's drawing, to illustrate my lungs contents, to show my insides. Breathing in fire and blowing out smoke, the body is an Alchemical calabash for mysterious exchanges. The body is a book, the book is a body: a place of mysterious exchanges, of stored power and old codes in signification trapped and pinned. Addiction, compulsion, and obsession: Smoking is all three. Habit is the template for our days, our map of stimulations, the desires and weaknesses which surface into consciousness for action. The drawings operated on many levels; the action of making them distracts so that the meditation is in the making, the crafting of memory, imperfect marks on the rough page are the memory of making themselves. We make our world, the world makes us, we make with our world.

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