Monday, 21 November 2011

Fish and Man- Kurt Schwitters

For this project I was given a story written by Kurt Schwitters. I was to interpret the story and create something to fit inside a ‘Merzbox’. My final outcome was to be of a limited size because the box is a particular size.

With this in mind, I produced two books. One is for the fish, and one is for the man.

The book for both man and fish is made from tissue paper to represent the fragile earth and animals in the story and the typewriter text is to represent the gun in the story and harsh footprints that man leaves on the earth. The story in the 'for man' book gradually becomes distorted as if it is gradually being destroyed.

The book for fish however, has only one word per page. This is because it is said that fish have a 3 second memory, therefore they would not be able to concentrate on more than one word at any one time.  The two books come as a set in a box.

Here is the story;

Once upon a time there was a fish. It swam in the large ocean, moved all the small waves, and splashed about in praise of our Lord.

A man came along and put on a diving suit and sprung right into the middle of the large ocean.

And when the fish saw the man, it thought, “The man is coming, and now there will be no more peace. He’ll eat us.”

So the fish sprang out of the wet ocean onto the dry tent of heaven.

However, it couldn’t fly and almost fell back into the large ocean and almost drowned a miserable death.

Just then a bird flew by and was sailing in the large ocean of air and twittered and cheered and praised our Lord.

So the fish took away the wings from the bird and used them to fly to the firmament and twittered and warbled and rejoiced.

But the bird fell into the ocean and died.

A man came by and saw the fish high up in the air. It was enjoying itself sailing and rejoicing and praising our Lord.

He shot it dead.

Lovely story right?!

The box that both stories are presented in a box

French stab bind was very appropriate for this style of book.

End pages.

Each book makes a dedication- 'for fish'.

The book is quite thick, and because it's made of tissue paper (all hand cut out, all 200 pages!!) it actually sounds like waves in the ocean.

'for man'.


Expressive type.

The type becomes destroyed and unreadable.

(I'd also like to add that this piece took me 2 long 12 hour days in the studio. And I kept one sheet (sneeeekily) from the 'for fish' book as a reminder that I can do whatever I put my mind to, because this project was the bain of my life!! But I'm very proud of this particular piece) .

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