Photographs from 2012 residency.
Location: San Francisco Center for the Book
Photography: Robyn Lehr
One for Each
As part of my residency at the San Francisco Center for the Book, I’m in the process of creating a sensory Wunderkammer. This elegant cabinet of curiosities contains five drawers, one for each of the human senses. Each drawer holds a distinct, self-contained object. I’m striving for the playful manner that, I hope, is seen as routinely characterizing my work — and if it all works, the senses will mingle in unexpected ways.
Three-dimensional projections emphasize the tactile nature of printed images. Silhouettes of leaves ask you to gauge species by contour, yet the absence of color brings attention to the visual. Talking tapes acknowledge a tangible aspect of sound. A musky, smell-based exploration summons up mental images of physical activity. A unique taste enhancer promises to temporarily bond to your receptors, making all things sour seem sweet — but first your fingers must negotiate the brittle blister pack.
And all, in combination and individually, show how our senses can deceive us, and in the process yield something akin to a child’s surprise at the roles these senses play in helping us navigate the world.
The completed “One for Each” will be a compact set of drawers, a box of English buckram and black leather, nearly 250 cubic inches of sensory activity. I’ve enlisted Boon Design to oversee typography, and Marc Weidenbaum to develop a series of short interlocking essays.