Based on the concept of a book of secret knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation, Alan Watts’ The Book combines Vedanta philosophy with a Western perspective to identify the taboo of the modern era. He contends that the Western, individual ego has become too focused on individuality, thus blinding it to its own connections with people and the environment, and the necessary dualisms that shape the world. It’s a thought-provoking and challenging thesis which can sometimes be elusive and slippery. However, as Watts’s insights gradually take hold and come to light, it can prove to be an enriching one as well.
It all begins when Griffin Moss receives a postcard in his London studio from a complete stranger, Sabine Strohem, a woman half-a-world away who claims to have visions of his paintings as he makes them. And so begins a unique and unusual correspondence as these two would-be lovers try to understand their strange circumstances, and are continually thwarted as they attempt to meet each other face-to-face.
Instead of a typical narrative, Nick Bantock employs postcards and letters to tell his story, matched with evocative and surreal imagery made with mixed media and collage. This approach turns the books themselves into art objects, and asks the readers to become participants in the story as well, as they remove, read, and fold up the letters that Ms. Strohem and Mr. Moss would be reading.
In this age of texts, Facebook, and an ailing postal system, Griffin & Sabine shows how a mundane means of communication can resonate with mystery and wonder. One may be tempted to see Bantock’s story as an artifact of an ‘older age,’ but the real challenge is to find the same possibilities within our current forms of communication, and to transcend them to rediscover the human emotions that we are trying to reveal to each other.
Due to the physical nature of The Griffn & Sabine Trilogy, these books can only be read in the library. Please see one of the staff members or librarians at the Circulation Desk for further details.
We are very pleased and proud to recognize Greenfield Library work-study students Sarah Gantt and Haylee Warner for their acceptance into the UArts Honors Program.
Sarah is a sophomore painting major who worked in the library last year and was a great asset to our Fall 2012 Open House event, and Haylee is a freshman in the UArts School of Dance and is interested in how libraries and dance can interconnect. Sarah and Haylee happen to be excellent employees as well as excellent students. The honors program requires them to maintain a GPA of 3.75, do honors-enriched coursework, and provide community service. We think they’re up to the task.