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Jessica Lee Patterson

Altered Book:

Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, David Abrams (2010)

Leather, fur and skull, sculptural wrap.

Artist Statement

To be animal is to exist in one's own skin; to be human is to rely on the skins of others. Homo sapiens is simultaneously both overwrought and incomplete. Our thoughts externalize us from our physical bodies, yet we employ physical objects, such as books, to externalize our thoughts.

Medieval books were only one step removed from animal bodies, bound in opaque hides, with pages of translucent skin. What if a book, already embodying thought and experience, aspired to become animal again?

David Abrams's Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology challenges the simple divisions we make between mind and body, humans, and other types of beings, even those we might ordinarily consider inanimate. I sought to animate this book with a body of its own, rich with sensuous textures and even scents, of a new, hybrid animal.

Short Bio

Theoretically an art history professor, Jessica has absconded from academia and sought refuge in the Maine woods, surrounded by feathered and furry creatures both wild and domestic. With an extensive background in Asian and Buddhist art, she is now expanding her research into the visual cultures of late twentieth-century fantasy and science fiction tabletop role playing games.

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