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Penny Arcade, Chicago, 1942. By Joseph Zack.
Today’s visit to the Archie McPhee Library explores a book that’s much more than a book, it’s A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel [Buy on Amazon] by British artist Tom Phillips. This amazing altered book began its literary life as a novel entitled A Human Document, written in 1892 by English writer W. H. Mallock. Fast-forward to 1966 when Tom Phillips bought the book for threepence at a junk shop in South London. He spent the next seven years painstakingly drawing, painting and collaging over each of the book’s 367 pages. Phillips left gaps in his artwork revealing some of the novel’s original text on each page. These exposed words tell the story of a new protagonist named Bill Toge, whose name only appears when the word “together” or “altogether” appears in W. H. Mallock’s original text.
When asked about the book, Phillips replied:
"It is a forgotten Victorian novel found by chance …I plundered, mined, and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents, and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I’d stripped away with visual images of all kinds. It began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams, and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties."
That’s how A Human Document became A Humument, but this extraordinary work of art is very much a work in progress. Philips has never stopped working on his splendidly altered book. Four revised editions have been published over the years, with the most recent Fifth Edition published in 2012. Each subsequent revision contains at least 50 new pages replacing their earlier versions. Phillip’s long-term goal is to eventually rework and replace every single page from the original 1970 edition.
In 2010 Tom Philips released a digital version of A Humument in the form of A Humument App for the iPad and iPhone.
[Images via Humument.com]
Downtowner Motor Inn - Muskegon, Michigan
Downtown Muskegon, Michigan, northbound business route US-31, I-96 and M-46. 104 Rooms, dining, Cocktails, Swimming pool, Meeting and conference facilities, Color TV.
Mailed from Muskegon, Michigan to Martin Weiss of South Bend, Indiana on November 1, 1970:
Dad, only just got in and we’re in E39. I’ll see you when I get back,. Tell everybody I said hi.
Dick Smith - Monster Make-Up (1965) (via)
Anyone remember J.P. Patches?
The Biosphere, a cool leftover from Expo ‘67 in Montreal. It now houses a science museum. The dome was designed by Buckminster Fuller.