Abecedary / Block Books
a word coined in the 15th century to denote an alphabetical primer usually for learning to read & write, but which also often contained biblical and/or moral lessons;
short books from the 15th century printed entirely by block printing (woodcuts), usually with religious content, intended for a popular audience, and created as an affordable alternative to the relatively new technology of typeset books;
Below is the beginning of an abecedary that will entirely be block printed along with graphics, some of which are present in the previous post from the summer 2023.
A for APPLE.
A for APPLE.
A for APPLE.
A for ASP, for APSE, for APOSTROPHE, for ATROPHY and APATHY.
A for AT, for ACT, for ATTACK.
A for AXE.
A for ASS, for ASPHYXIATION, for ASSASSIN.
A for ANT, for ALE and ATE,
A was an ANVIL that killed the young guy.B was a BAT,
the BIT-STOCK drilled into his eye.
C for CAN,
C for CAT,
C for COMMA, COMA, COMB,
C was a COCK,
the CLIPPERS that cut off her toes.
D was a DART dug deep in his nose.
E for EGG,
for END or EDEN;
for EVE or EVIL.
E for ERASE,
for ELIMINATE, for EXCREMENT.
E for EGO,
an EXACTO excising his sheath.
F was a FILE that ground down his teeth.
F was his FIST that pound out her teeth.
G for GO.
G for GONE.
G for GROAN or GRIN.
G for GIF, for GIFT,
for GRAFT and GRIFT.
G for GUT,
a GAVEL that pounds on her knee.
H is for HEAVEN,
for HIM, HER,
H for HUMAN,
H for HELP, for HEMP,
for HERD, HORDE, or HEED.
H was a HAMMER that made his lip bleed.
I for IBIS,
for IGUANA or IMPALA.
I for INDEX.
I for INSECTS,
I for INTERNET, INTERSECT,
I for INTERROGATE,
for INDICT, INCITE or IGNITE.
I was an ICE-PICK that punctured his glans.
J was a JOINTER shaving skin off his hands.K for KITE.
K for KITTEN.
K for KETTLE,
for KERNEL, KENNEL, KIBBLE, and
K for KICK.
K for KINK,
for KETAMINE or KEROSINE.
K for KIND, for KID,
for KILT or KILLER.
K was a KNIFE that carved out his cornea.
K was a KNEE jammed into his ace
L was that LANCET lacerating her labia.
M for MAN.
M for MANNA or MANTA,
for MANE, MAKE,
M for MOON.
for MOUSE, MICE, MOSS, MASS, and
M for MASTURBATE,
M was a MALLET that shattered her chin.
M was a MALLET that shattered her cheek.
N was a NAIL shoved into his shin.
N were her NAILS shoved into his neck.
O was the OAR rammed into her rectum.
P were the PLIERS compressing/squeezing/squashing his scrotum.
Q was a QUILL thrust into his pupil.
R was the RAZOR removing her nipple.
S was the SCYTHE slicing her throat
T was the TROWEL
Ideas: an abecedary with the following characteristics:
(1) it should introduce each letter with simple words that would normally be used to teach young children the alphabet, but it should quickly devolve to more cruel, dangerous, complex, Latinate words that suggest harm or danger or corruption;
(2) it should sometimes have rhyming couplets, perhaps more rigorously in the beginning, but it shouldn’t always rhyme, and as the alphabet progresses, the rhyme should disappear altogether;
(3) there should be a very prevalent motif of tools used for harming people, such as “B is for BITSTOCK drilled into his eye;” and this motif of tools should be thought of broadly in which even human body parts like fists can be thought of as tools used for harm, or even human beings themselves used as tools or instrumentalized to harm others by greater powers such as political leaders or ideologies, especially capitalism;
(4) there should also be various references to digital technology;
(5) Here and there the language of the rhyme should break down to nonsense such as in Dada poetry or just syllabic repetition such as when a child learns the sounds of the letters of the alphabet, as in “dah, deh, dee, day, doo, duh.”
Notice in particular, that the section for each letter varies in length. I would also like the rhyming scheme to continue, but gradually devolve and by the end be completely gone and not rhyming at all. I would also like any sense of ordinary syntactical meaning to devolve as well, and ultimately have it end with jibber-jabber, such as what a child does when learning the alphabet, “bah, beh, booh, buh, bay, bee…” or like Dada poetry does with nonsensical words which concentrate instead on the sounds of words rather than the meanings they convey. Does that make sense?
In this exploration, I work with some elemental facets that construct our world—both physically and ideologically. The centerpiece of my current project is an abecedary, a rhyming composition akin to the rhymes that guide children through the alphabet, but perhaps with a perverse twist. This abecedary delves into the realm of tools – ordinary tools used for the creation of our tangible surroundings, and even the tool-of-tools, the human hand. These tools are like double-edged swords, with the potential for both constructive and destructive ends.
Within the cheerful and edifying confines of an abecedary, I wield these tools, demonstrating the duality they embody. In this alphabetical journey, I contemplate their potential for both creation and harm. This exploration draws from my own experiences, marked by a childhood shaped by a deeply conservative and religious upbringing in the American South. It’s a reflection of the burdens, wounds, and lingering knowledge of such a skewed upbringing—a reflection on how these imprints persist in me, and in contemporary education.
My artistic journey blends the digital with the tangible. In a homage to early 8-bit graphics, I merge handcrafted representations on physical materials like paper and resin with a digital aesthetic. The core building blocks in this visual composition are squares and cubes (shapes and forms of many actual building blocks), showing the simplicity and complexity and modularity that tools present.
Through geometric grids, fundamental phonetics, and simple words, I strive to bridge the gap between the profound and the simplistic. This journey also ventures into an exploration of the irrational exemplified in numbers, such as the mathematical enigma of pi.
In this work, I seek to spark deep contemplation about the human experience and the power we hold in our hands – tools that can create, destroy, and ultimately shape the world. It is an artistic narrative that inspires us to confront our fears, question our knowledge, and tread into the spaces where creation and destruction converge.