Please use the comments to contribute to the discussion of this work.  Here’s a bit about what we’ve been thinking about while working on Lichen Books: On the Road.

Rebecca Blakley’s work lives under the radar.  A checked-out library book, or just-purchased pair of jeans is revealed to be a work or art. We were attracted to this project in part because it was the chance to support an artist that not only makes work without a saleable product, but makes work for an unknown audience and without acknowledgment.    I had a college professor who used to talk a lot about the idea of art as a gift.  That the act of creating something and showing it to others was a generous one.  But when an artist works anonymously, never knowing how their work is received, that idea takes on a fuller dimension.

This element of the anonymous and unexpected also posed a concern for us.  Because her work is normally stumbled upon we wondered how the meaning would change when distributed through TPG.  When you see the Present Group stamp on the box the contents are predefined as art.  In the interview, Rebecca’s response to this observation was that in some ways the effect is similar yet reversed.  When one finds a “Lichen Book” in a library, in seeking out a book, they find art.  When you receive this work in the mail expecting art, you find a book.

Rebecca’s work is about the unexpected, about surprise and delight, but it is also a reflection on how we use books to escape. As Sarah Fontaine observes in her essay, “Blakley is complicating this convention with the materiality of her chosen form.”  The physical interaction with the post it notes draws you into the present.  Blakley furthers this effect with her the first person narrative;  the reader and the narrator are in the same present, responding to the same text
It was a joy to come back to “On The Road” after so many years.  And in some ways Rebecca’s story gives enough contrast to the original to make us evaluate our own journeys, years of indecision, and how our culture has changed and not changed at all over the years.