ELEMENTARY EXCURSIONS, 2012
Elementary Excursions is a cycle of digital collages printed to the scale of trading cards. They are displayed in plastic sleeves used by collectors. With Proverbs and Formal Graffiti, Elementary Excursions is part of an extended inquiry into what is inculcated when traditional modes of education are disrupted, schools decimated, generations eradicated.
Read, in the name of thy Lord who created, man from a clot.
Read, for your Lord is most Generous,
who teaches by means of the pen,
teaches man what they know not, (al-'Alaq: 1-5)
The Arabic alphabet, the most widely used other than the Latin alphabet, facilitated the rapid spread of Islam in the 7th century. The alphabetic system undermined the hegemony of a scribal elite, for prolonged study was no longer required to read and write.
The religious commandment at the core of the Quran and the concomitant accessible form make the letter as well as the word of central import to Islam.
As Arabic is primarily a written consonantal form where the alphabet is altered to denote its cursive position within a word, the isolated presentation of a letter is much more representative of extraction than the discretely separable Latin printed alphabet.
One possible implication in presenting individual alphabetical elements is that the images are loci where the word is shattered, broken, or unformed rather than mere sites of construction.
Despite a lack of innocent teaching, meaning will be made, and made anew but with the knowledge of devastation and living through loss and trauma. In these collages I employ both the violence of extraction and a facile and deceptive sleight of hand.