Deformances & Manifestos

For their final project, students in this course created “deformances” of Gretchen Henderson’s novel Galerie de Difformité, accompanied by critical manifestos.

Henderson’s work is a meditation on “deformity”—as an aesthetic category, as a philosophical concept, as a creative process, etc. Henderson originally asked readers to “deform” a series of textual “Exhibits,” and images of the resultant works were incorporated into the published book. Galerie de Difformité itself asks each new reader to deform it as he or she reads, and Henderson maintains an online gallery of the novel’s continued deformances. Galerie draws heavily on the history of the book, even as its use of hypertext narrative and reader interactivity challenges us to consider how we read in an increasingly digital media ecology.

Students in “The Future of Fiction” created a range of deformances, from treated books to collage to sculpture to digital hypertext. Their critical manifestos explained how their final projects engaged with topics from this course. They also discussed how their interactions with Galerie—as both literary text and media artifact—allowed them to explore topics such as the construction of identity, the nature of creativity, and the relationship between deformity and beauty.

Below is our gallery, featuring images of each project and excerpts from the accompanying manifestos.

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The Galerie wants something from me, a sacrifice of sorts. Bone for bone. This is not the same museum I started in. The parts are being replaced, taken away. A minotaur on a maze inside a ship set in a museum. How do we dig beneath our skin to see what pulses inside?” – Ben B.

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“One aspect of computer programming that I wanted to bring to the project was the ability to make large changes to the project without having to scrap large portions of work. HTML documents allow me to change the flow, the visual style, and even add new layers of interactivity or pseudorandom variance to the project as I find it necessary without having to throw away the work I had already completed. I can (and the current state of the project does) hide pieces of the work that I had done but have not yet found a use for, so that even in presenting the project to a user, they will not see the whole project, and are in fact unaware of its scope until they have progressed through it completely.” – Trevor Byington

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The plot of my deformance is a writhing, twisting, ever changing story about what humans are at their cores. Humans are collages, pieces of paper pasted together to make living, breathing people. Underneath all of the glue and the pictures lies the foundation, the true form, identity, but it is masked layer by layer with artificiality.” – A.O.

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“I began with the intention of exploring — then deforming — the anatomical references in the undeformed work, particularly the anatomy of the sternum and xiphoid. This aspect of the undeformed Gallerie de Difformité was blended with elements of the story of Dante and Beatrice as imagined in Dante’s La Vita Nuova. [A chance event then led me to muse on the deformation of genes.] Cancer is a series of steps which result in the deformation (mutation) of genes, culminating in the deformation (transformation) of cells to a deformed (dysplastic) appearance. Deformation is destruction, but as Picasso notes [p. 138], deformation is creation.” – Jim Hutchins

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“I think that the creative is meant to be deformed by their process. Ultimately, those deformities build upon one another and the creative becomes better for it. Whether it is art, writing, dance or other artistic pursuits, it is both necessary and useful for the creative to recognize the nuances of their journey, and celebrate them, as they reach their final goals.” – Chelsea Maki​

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“My deformation asks that those wishing to see more than what is represented at face value must do their part to reveal what is under the surface by interacting with it. A story resides not only on the platform in which it is presented but also within the mind of the reader.” – K. Gardiner

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 “At a first glance, the viewer might hypothesize that my project depicts death because it prominently features a human skull. I strived to create the essence of Galerie by exposing its “skeleton”. I included a face to express how emotion can be used to manipulate one another. Faces can be used to show vulnerability when we are sad, or act as armor or a mask when we want to hide our feelings. That is, as humans, we are not immune to the forces of deformity.” – J. Gomez

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“I fell in love with words, and that saved me. I would read poems that somebody found in the gap of another’s teeth…I want the next generation of little girls and little boys to grow up in a better world than I did. I want them to have a better shot at being happy, because it took me so long to become happy with myself. It took me too long to become happy with myself.” – M.L.A.

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“My deformance focuses on the idea of what is true and what is perceived as being true. Masks are traditionally used to obscure the face and hide the emotions. It seemed fitting to then cut it from the cover of the book, what was meant to contain the contents of the Galerie. Like the cover, the mask is meant to contain, even to represent, the face and what is hidden behind it.” – Tara Prince

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“…when I found the line, ‘Did you miss the point?’ I immediately came up with ripping out all of the pages that had no real story or narrative on it and breaking the spine so that the line would be the focal point and bring the attention to the iPad.” -J.V.C.

– – – – –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“To deform the text I used special markers, only visible under a blacklight, to create my own cautions and monsters. I’m a monster nut. I live nearly every moment of my life trying to create stories and fictions about what the world would be like if they existed. I made the concept my own by creating monsters that appeal to me. The beast with blazing eyes emerging from the shadows of text, a sorcerer throwing fire in the face of the reader, and a disfigured primal humanoid lumbering within each sentence make my reading mine.” – Jacob Mark Meyers

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: