Using the criteria of titles that incorporate women’s names, I selected nine banned books to work with.  My idea was to use books that were considered for one reason or another “dirty” or somehow “improper”. The range of books on my list clearly supports the absurdity and apparent randomness with which books are found to be unfit for public consumption.

To make the piece I wanted to use a process that was not only about cleaning but that was also at one point considered woman’s work.  I decided to wash and dry each book and use the lint produced by the loads of laundry as the final material.  Obviously as the book is washed it falls a part and looses some of its integrity, words are lost and sentences are erased.  Though much disappears in the process, the lint captures what does not go away and traps bits and pieces of the book.  What is seen are nine panels, one for each book.

While working on this piece I noticed each books is judged and in a way censored by the process itself.  Of course there is a hierarchy in literature and books considered to have more literary cache are printed on better paper.  These works were able to better resist the process of washing and drying, while the “lesser” works of literature that are produced on newsprint were unable to defend themselves and their words are almost completely washed a way.

Books used:

  • Go Ask Alice
  • Annie on My Mind
  • Madame Bovary
  • Fanny Hill
  • Lolita
  • Julie of the Wolves
  • Carrie
  • Alice in Wonderland

Typology of nine 10×8” clayboards covered with dryer lint made from washed books, 2009

Annie On My Mind
Go Ask Alice
Madame Bovary
Fanny Hill
The Education of Harriet Hatfield
Julie of the Wolves
Alice in Wonderland
Group of all Twelve Books