The Wasteland Variations
“The Wasteland Variations,” are photographs taken in July 2013 of various pages from Volume 23 of the English Journal. The pages originated as the bi-product of a “book-box” project, which involved removing the ‘entrails’ of the volume and setting them aside. I decided to use said pages to make paper and so I place all thousand odd page in a large bucket and poured water over them.
Two things came to mind as the pages began soaking. First, how pretty the water made the pages look, and second how horrible it was that I could treat a book so poorly. This second observation was deepened what I decided that ripping the pages would help them mulch better and I started thinking of “The Hollow Men,” by T.S. Eliot who is referenced in both the gallery title and the majority of the picture names.
I started taking pictures of the pages, and noticed how the focal nature of photography made certain words more prominent which lead to the “Notes – of the spirit – captures this truth [in correct, effective speaking] – there is nothing [new]” which is a reflection on the way civilizations come and go, and to Ecclesiastes 1:9 “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.”
What remains of Atlantis? Of The Roman Empire? Of Babylon? And few have left their books, and to this day are doomed to slowly fade away from recollection. Then, “please examine” is a call to think about the nature of literature, and what these words mean and their implications. Leading to “The Way the World Ends,” and “With a Whimper” which emphasize the slow and painful erasure of civilizations as they are reduced to history, then fact, then legend.