The Unraveling of Political Discourse by Deborah Greenwood & Lucia Harrison

Of great concern to us is the breakdown of political discourse resulting from stonewalling and obstructive tactics. We long for in-depth, respectful conversation about complex issues. While searching for visual archetypal symbols of cooperation, we discovered the handshake, a gesture of reciprocity. We paired our own text with John Bulwer's images from, The Natural Language of the Hand (1644), the first scientific study of hand gestures. We altered an 18th century handwritten contract to signify the social contract between governments and their people. As the contract begins, various shades of gray and black weave through a stable structure with cooperative hand gestures, a demonstration of the balance of expression necessary for a democracy. As the book progresses the weaving begins to fall apart, gestures and text become hostile. The contract ends as two opposing opinions dominate. We bound hands as book covers. We untie our hands each time we open the book and examine the issue.

Artist Bio

Deborah Greenwood and Lucia Harrison are studio artists, book artists, paper makers, curators, and workshop facilitators who work together in Tacoma, Washington. Both artists are included in 500 Handmade Books Volume 2, private collections and institutional collections. Both serve on the Board of Puget Sound Book Artists.