A student of mine a while back created a conceptual book about contagion. It had beautiful and seemingly blank white pages and was bound in a deep black velvety paper binding. On each page was printed very subtle white-on-white imagery, almost imperceptible, which you had to carefully hold in order to view up close. What wasn’t evident through either sight or touch was that the black covers, front and back were impregnated with dirty black pigment. As you leafed through the white pages, you left the residue of your touch throughout the book. The object became an archive of its own use, a concrete illustration of the imperceptible virulence of contagion.
“Some have the gift to change and change again in many forms, like Proteus, creature of the encircling seas, who sometimes seemed a lad, sometimes a lion, sometimes a snake men feared to touch, sometimes a charging boar, or else a sharp-horned bull; often he was a stone, often a tree, or feigning flowing water seemed a river or water’s opposite, a flame of fire.”
animation by Dorijan Kolundzija