Tuesday, 05 May 2020
LESSON 04 / READING as Archive, text, quotes, script, notebooks


__ learn about ways language has been leveraged as tool in archive
__ continue to develop skills, potential and clarity with your reading as archive
__ create a small journal or notebook using any element of choice from your archive



__ CreatingYourArchive_SESSION4 (1)
__ Wendell Berry’s How to Be a Poet
__ Jenni Holzer Art 21 on Protest (minute 40)
__ Glenn Ligon
__ Hank Willis Thomas



many of us find it useful to gather and organize our reading “inputs.” i would assert that half of being a maker, and artist, is research, following our nose on what strikes us, following it, reading about it. sometimes there are direct connections to the work we create in the studio, sometimes not, but it all is part of your practice.

think about how, where and what you read. maybe you already have some habits to share? perhaps you’d like to begin a notebook just for taking notes when reading poetry. document this process (it will look different for everyone) through a “themed” minibook, flier or pamphlet. post your images in the classroom and tell us a bit about your journey. all work must be submitted by thursday 07may @ 12noon (nyc time) and all students must check back and comment on at least one other student’s work by 2p (nyc time). 



__ Ask yourself “do i have a good reading spot?”
__ bell hooks
__ Drew Holcomb’s songwriting journal (go to minute 38)
__ DIY books



one-on-one conversations: Session 5 and Link to sign up posts Tuesday, May 05 @ 2am (NYC time)



  • j o h n r o s: it has been lovely to see how everyone thinks about how and...
  • cary: Melissa, Your “what I am into” flip book is such a great...
  • jodi hays: Y'all!!! I'll respond in full in our crits, and in a course...
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Cherith Lundin
6 May 2020 3:18pm

I had SUCH a good time creating my ‘book’ – I found a format that mimics the way I use my studio space – a container with piles in it (and, by the way, an index card stack is a PILE!) I created a portable studio out of a manila folder: totally unfussy, utilitarian, and alterable. In it I pasted readings (FRAGMENTS I pulled off my studio wall), a MAP of the walks I took this week in my neighborhood (a series of TRACES), and a PILE of source images from around my studio. I tried the images as a STACK that interacts with my maps, and as an accordion, where they interact with each other. I thought I’d like the accordion better, but it’s a bit unwieldy. I also put a pocket with strips of blank paper in the back…

I actually think this a format that I might continue to use: a container for thoughts, images, and drawings made during a certain period of time. Maybe a new one every few months. It would be a way of organizing my studio piles a bit, but not so much that they can’t talk back and forth in new and unexpected ways…

j o h n r o s
6 May 2020 6:24pm

i have created a digital book of my current sources of text. the covers use Lorem Ipsum … dummy text i regularly employ when designing something digitally with text. not being on social media keeps my browser’s bookmarks current and highly trafficked — there are daily, weekly and monthly check-ins. (but not with any real structure). in the .PDF, the first and foremost sources are daily news sources followed by weekly magazines. i have a few physical subscriptions, but included the websites here for ease and consistency (thinking in archive-mode — which also made me include click-through links for each source – including the covers). last in the .PDF, but certainly not least, are the books i am currently dabbling with. always several at once — and i almost never finish a whole book — except poetry lately. i am looking forward to the local library reopening! as i need a refresh and i am on a self-imposed book-buying hiatus. for these i shared publishers websites. i actively boycott amazon and encourage as much local or publisher/artist-direct shopping as possible.

i look forward to circling back to see what you’ve all been up to.

6 May 2020 6:59pm

My “book”. Will add commentary on theme, process and limitations separately.
This is a screenshot of all the pages in iPhoto so the sequence is in the right order at least once.

6 May 2020 7:02pm

Closer shots #1. (Don’t know if these will appear in the correct order.)

6 May 2020 7:05pm

Closer shots of pages #2.

6 May 2020 7:07pm

More pages including the centerfold. #3

6 May 2020 7:08pm

Final set (#4) of the “book”.

6 May 2020 9:34pm

Since the brief for this assignment was so wide open, I set myself some loose guidelines/goals to work within/toward:

Create a zine in the form of a stitched pamphlet.
Order the images in a way that makes some kind of narrative or sequential sense. (If only to me).
Make it for yourself as a one off. (Let it be emancipatory for you). But design it in such a way that conceivably this could be copied/reprinted in physical form for an audience beyond yourself. (Be open to the idea that what you create might, in turn, be emancipatory for others.)
Ignore chronology.
Minimal text.
Don’t write anything for or in the “book”.
All text (my words or words of someone else) needs to come from within my existing sources.
Reflect the reading I’ve been doing.
Incorporate the feelings I have experienced during the course so far.
Make the process as playful and messy as possible.
Treat all collage materials from previous works as fair game to be recycled and remixed into something new with potential new meanings.
Incorporate source images that have been difficult to revisit during the earlier assignments.
Use images from 3 of the new archive folders i’ve created:
Scotland: identity, language, symbols, places
Dark places on the map
Mix those themes up.
Let some sources stand alone. Mix others together in new ways.
No digital collage. Physical cut and paste only.
Only technology: photocopy all source images so the originals can return to the archive.
Mess about with changing the size of the copies.
Repeat images.
Mix of monochrome and colour.

Current reading that fed into the process:
The Riot Grrrl Collection by Lisa Darms.
Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism by Alison Piepmeier

I wanted to put my new archive process to work. The folder system I’m putting together is nowhere near complete but i had enough to be getting on with.
I decided to make an autobiographical “book” within a broadly feminist theme that reflected some emotions and memories contained within the archive AND reflect the process of, and emotions felt when, uncovering the sources during the course. I wanted the book to be a representation of the past itself and the present in which because of this course I’ve been revisiting a lot of images from the past that awaken a lot of emotion and at times felt overwhelming.

Our printer has stopped working properly and is basically reduced to being an ink jet photocopier. So I knew, especially as I couldn’t go to a print shop that i had to work within some practical limitations. But i wanted to create an artifact something new that represents the archiving process I’ve been developing during the course, is itself a new source and now part of that archive, but also a standalone work.
I really enjoyed doing it. It felt liberating to play with images that have a painful history and have been featured in works that i made in very different periods of my life. They lost some of their power. As if they too were being liberated.

I think i am going to make a lot more of these. I could easily see this becoming my new favourite medium. I loved the speed and energy of it. It suits the kind of sources i have and i like remixing sources from 15 years back and finding new meaning in them.
I might need to get a laser printer. 🙂

emma davis
7 May 2020 8:20am

Lately I’ve been doing more getting rid than adding – and the books I have left now are about 1/4 of what I had before. I have even gone so far as to colour co-ordinate them which I’ve found a really satisfying (or is that sad) development. Whichever one, they make my space feel like I’ve chosen what I retain and I love the facticty (is that a word?) of each thing. I’ve done the same in the studio. The end result is I feel that I have used my inherited colour ‘eye’ (my great great grandfather was a dyer and developed the colour khaki … he used to make my grandmother put colours in order to test her eye) sense to organise my world. the first picture of multicoloured books on a single shelf are the diaries I have kept since my 20s. There are earlier ones but I’ve decanted them to my studio.

7 May 2020 8:25am

Hey All. Still without power over here but am managing to sneak some wifi time in between ice runs and boiling water for tepid, shallow baths…

Love Cherith’s manila folder-container-pile-portable-studio! Might have to steal that one…mount them all in shadow boxes and you have a show;)

Cary’s zines are the perfect culmination of the extensive ground she has covered in the class…brava! Def think you should continue down that path and see where they take you.

My head has not been in the game this week and I’m feeling a bit detached. I really intended to make a physical book but decided that reviewing my digital Notes app and compiling a few items from it would suffice for now. I like to make notes on books, articles, interviews, etc. that I come across to keep for reference when coming up with concepts, titles, etc. for the work I’m doing. I think it would help tremendously to keep these notes in some sort of digital pile together so that I would not have to scroll through 283 notes to find them…thank you archive_course!

7 May 2020 8:28am

more “book” pages

emma davis
7 May 2020 8:30am

My note books are my sketchbooks and i”m back on the 5 minute drawing a day kick that John will be familiar with. this is linked to a prospective lockdown online exhibition with a motley (in the nicest sense) group of artists called Riverside Artists Group. I have managed this most days – although I wonder why not every day since I should not really be overworked at the moment… One thing i’m noticing is that pattern is one of the most satisfying things I’m finding in my home… when I was out and about pre-lockdown I used to concentrate on corners and the architectural details / features of buses, tubes and public transport.
I used to think pattern a bit girly and decorative… maybe I shoudl reconsider and embrace it, like colour coding my books.
Since the lockdown I’ve re-identifyed with my childhood self where i spent a great deal of time ‘making houses’ – this might be in the playground markign out a house in the dirt with a twig, or in a cardboard box drawing windows and curtains, or in a shed or underneath a kitchen sink in a a cupboard making a living space. I now live in a studio which is not miles different from living in a cupboard.
i realise I’m slightly off beam the idea of book-related note taking… except all my work ends up in books

emma davis
7 May 2020 8:40am

And here are some images from the many diaries i’ve written… I have slightly lost touch with this practice. Once i discovered the liberation of shredding I started writing journals more honestly than a book might allow so shredding has become a liberation. But as a result i have less years logged now.
Squeamishness about the power of the unedited written word came early on from my Catholic nun head teacher at primary (elementary) school taking me aside to warn me of the dangers of writing things down (I had written a love lorn story about John Travolta), and a friend of mine / flat mate who in a drug craze read my entire year diary, decided he didn’t like what I had said about me and kicked me out of the flat.

emma davis
7 May 2020 8:47am

and then finally I notice the many many albums I have of photos of architectural or natural details mixed in with friend’s photos from daily and travel life – how to bring these all together is probably what you’re actually asking us to do – but these documents at least help me grapple with my historical habits… and how to (as John might suggest) MOOOSH them all together

Cherith Lundin
7 May 2020 9:02am

Emma, I love the correlations between your line drawings and photographs.
Cari, thanks for letting us see your work space in-progress. I love seeing the bits and pieces on your desk and then seeing how you ordered them in your book. Love the zine inspiration and what a good container that is for the images and ideas you’re dealing with!

Cherith Lundin
7 May 2020 9:06am


Alexandria Roland
Alexandria Roland
7 May 2020 11:16am

In about the past two years, my mom has actually taken to making her own journals and books, and this past Christmas she made a journal for me. Half of the journal has thinner writing paper and the other half of the journal has mixed media paper. I’ve been using it primarily as a journal, bc I wasn’t sure if I what to do with the second half since I am already working out of a couple sketchbooks atm. This assignment gave me some inspo to use that back portion of my book as a way to collect what I am working on and reading, and view it in conjunction with what I am writing in the same time. So, I’ve written out a few quotes of what I’ve recently marked in books as well as taken notes and thumbnails of what work is in process.

My mom has also offered to make more journals for me whenever I am ready for a new one. I’d love for her to show me how she makes them, but I also enjoy that we can collaborate as makers as well as mother/daughter.

7 May 2020 12:14pm

Jon – I find your digital book process fascinating. I can read a coherent thread of thought at work in it and yet the Lorem ipsum cover gives the book a lovely non-determined, provisional framing that doesn’t force the dots to be joined. The contents aren’t being tied down. I’ve enjoyed thinking about that and led to me not labeling or titling my own book. At least for now. Time will tell.

Cherith and Alexandria, both your assembled collections are works of art in themselves. I can imaging myself all to easily spending hours in a museum huddled over a glass case poring over them and wanting to touch them. They remind me again of this question of when a source becomes an art object of its own. If there is even a distinction to be drawn.

Emma, I appreciate your thoughts on writing and shredding and about the power of hand written words we make. I have long thought there is something curious that we use the same word to signify spelling words when we write and the much older and longer act of making magic spells. And that our written diaries and journals have a deep sense of being a kind of private spell-making – they express wishes we imagine into being and make manifest on the page. Your John Travolta story is a beautiful example of that. Both suggesting the wishes behind the act and the fears those wishes can uncover if they are no longer secret but read. Which shows the power they hold. I will be thinking about that anecdote for years to come. There’s so many layers to it.

The colour system for your books is also really interesting. Their covers are what have taken primacy over their contents and prompted memories and thoughts about your own “eye” it’s perhaps unlikely they wouldn’t have done otherwise if arranged differently. That too suggests a beautifully rich seam of potential meanings.

Andy – I am so sorry you remain without power. That sucks. And I feel very fortunate this storm season.
I pulled out a mini book of yours I have had for over 20 years now. It’s crossed the Atlantic twice. I’ve never written in it. But it is mind blowing to consider that when you gave it to me I had no idea at all that a decade ahead I would move to America, in the interim you would live with joel in the house I would be moving into and that I would follow you into the same art studios at DPC. And I am surrounded in this house by your artwork so that this place is filled with your marks. And now here we are another decade on & on a course being led by another alum of that same studio space.
It gives this little notebook retroactively an almost divinatory power. It’s a treasured little piece of my own archive that carries a deep meaning far beyond its size. I’m so glad I held onto it.
I’ve attached images of it as an affirmation of your ongoing journey and bookmaking.

One final thought – there’s a common thread in many of our ponderings – nearly all of us have expressed the challenge of working out a way to better access our sources. I so identify with the problem of having to search through hundreds of pages of notes to find that one little thing we recall recording somewhere sometime. At the heart of this process is a perpetual conundrum- how to organize sources so they don’t get buried by too rigid a system but are order enough to be accessible/ more efficient/habitual and how to do it with a light enough touch that we can be surprised by them in unexpected ways. That act of intentionally mooshing is proving so delicate a creative act & unique to each of us. It’s been a real privilege to witness each person’s process and thought process. It’s made me think and see my own archive in ways I never would have spontaneously done on my own.

Alexandria Roland
Alexandria Roland
7 May 2020 1:50pm

Everyone’s concept for this ‘book’ assignment have been great and interesting to go thru.
Cari, I love your zine layout and plans for future projects. Jodi has created zines or books to kind of encapsulate a body of work, and I think as a resource tool that’s really helpful when going back to previous concepts/themes.
And Cherith, your book is really awesome. I love the accordion style, it’s minimal but filled with archival specifics that make it incredibly useful, no distractions.

7 May 2020 2:59pm

Wow…thanks so much for the contributions everyone! It’s been a pleasure getting a peak inside each of your respective practices. After we’ve had time to socially distance ourselves from zoom meetings, we should do one together! I hope we will be able to refer back to this class archive in the future…Jodi (or John), will that be possible? I would love to review all of this material when I am in a more sane state. Cary-incredible mind bending synopsis of our collective struggle and personal throwback…thanks so much for sharing and keeping the little book all these years:)
Jodi, thanks so much for your patient instruction and guidance. Can’t wait to meet in person and do an archive follow-up!

Melissa Dunn
Melissa Dunn
7 May 2020 6:02pm

It’s been so good to see all of your books and ways your gather your ideas. I decided to make a little flip book of things and concepts that exist in various forms throughout my studio and in my work. As I was making it, I realized I could keep going and going, and that maybe when I’m 80 it will be as fat as a brick. I decided to make a mind map of what’s in the book now and then a list of ideas things I want to add. Reading through your posts, I saw other things I want to add as well. I also want to go through all my existing archives – sketchbooks, accordion files, photographs (physical and digital), etc. and pull from there as well.

Melissa Dunn
Melissa Dunn
7 May 2020 6:05pm

A few more pages . . .

Melissa Dunn
Melissa Dunn
7 May 2020 6:06pm

And this is the list of some things I want to eventually add . . .

7 May 2020 7:34pm

Your “what I am into” flip book is such a great idea. And the pages of it are fabulous. If I get stuck for inspiration or motivation ever again I am going to ask myself that as a question. I may stick a post it on the wall with it so I don’t forget.

j o h n r o s
7 May 2020 9:19pm

it has been lovely to see how everyone thinks about how and what we collect. i especially love cherith’s book that becomes a container. archive in an archive.

it has been amazing to see you all dig deeper, while letting us into the spaces we create. i love the piles, books, colors, shelves, sections, notions, thoughts, accumulations — in the physical and in the digital. with digital ubiquity, how we navigate the physical and digital in real-time with real-space becomes more and more interesting.

it has been so wonderful to make these connections during this intense time. i wish you all the best in the weeks and months to come. thank you all! and thank you jodi for such an engaged and thoughtful course. so glad you’ve joined the team at studioELL!

to answer andy’s question: yes, with our new system it is possible to archive each course on the “past courses” page at studioELL.org. we are still working out the details, but it is our intention to keep the passwords set and allow past-course members access beyond the courses run.

ps… i spent a large past of the day going through old external hard drives trying to locate and organize some old files, mostly photographs — fitting for the course. i found this old typed page i thought fit my digital entry this week and the more overarching theme of text. its from 2014 or so.