BASED ON YOUR CURRENT TRAJECTORY by Rachel Simmons

$675.00
This book project began during the early days of the global pandemic as a meditation on the passing of time. In 2021, I returned to the book after reading Stephen Hawking’s theories of space-time and time travel, discovering the concept of the twin paradox—which asks what would happen if one identical twin departs Earth to travel near light speed through space, while the other twin remains on Earth, aging normally. How do they experience time differently? How does time change their identities and relationship as twins? Adapting Hawking’s language, I created  a narrative about a time traveler seeking to understand the invisible laws of space-time as they search for their lost twin, a story based on the real-life disappearance of my youngest brother, who hasn’t been seen since 2018. The concept of the Elsewhere, an unseen space, neither in the past or the future, is offered as his possible location. Aesthetically this book brings together my love of experimental mixed media printmaking, hand-punched lettering and graphic illustrations through an interactive flag book structure. I made the imagery for the digitally printed flags by hand-printing relief plates on my provisional press, then scanning and layering them in Photoshop to create rich colors and textures. By including illustrations of myself thinking and waiting, and a font made from my own handwriting, I sought to personalize the narrative while keeping much of the scientific theories intact. Unlike most flag books, this structure is meant to be laid flat on a table with the accordion spine down, then read by flipping each row of cards towards you from front to back while reading up and down or left and right. Once you’ve read either the red or blue sides of the cards, you can close the book and start from the opposite side. The duality references the twin paradox, while the complexity of the structure echoes the difficulty of understanding our personal relationships, emotional loss and our place in space-time.

Artist Bio

Rachel Simmons is an artist-educator teaching printmaking and book art at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She earned her MFA in Painting & Drawing from Louisiana State University. Her diverse practice explores tensions between individuals and societies as we navigate the impacts of globalization, species decline and climate change. Endlessly curious about the natural world and our relationship with it, Rachel often collaborates with scholars from other academic disciplines and members of her community to create her work. In Rachel’s socially engaged art projects, she asks community participants to think critically and creatively about our relationship with nature. Recent interdisciplinary collaborative projects include the environmental graphic narrative Future Bear with writer/historian Julian Chambliss, and Visible Climate: Postcards from America’s Changing Landscapes with geographer Lee Lines. Rachel has traveled to Antarctica, Iceland, Namibia, the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii and many of the US National Parks to research environmental issues pertaining to these projects. During and after her travels, she engages in an active practice of reflection through visual journals and altered books. Rachel's artist’s books, which address personal, environmental and social issues, are currently available through Vamp and Tramp Booksellers and can be found in special collections across the US including Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Lawrence University, Baylor University, The University of Central Florida, DePaul University, UCLA, Miami University and several private collections. Her work has been exhibited regionally, nationally, internationally at venues such as The Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Washington, D.C., the Florence Biennale in Italy and the Deiglan Gallery in Akureyi, Iceland. Her current work, The Language of Watching explores the particularities of our human relationship with birds through artist’s books and prints, and invites community participants to become collaborators. Rachel was the 2009 recipient of the Service-Learning Faculty Award for the State of Florida from Florida Campus Compact and the following year, delivered a Ted talk about her practice, “Green Art” at Tedx Orlando.