What are the books about?
I was there (vol. I and II) is a set of two limited-edition artist books that portrays and tells the life stories of Kevin and Esta, two unrelated older individuals who live close to my home. I was there translates my conversations with them into a material form through an unconventional combination of text, image, the blank space of the page, and the book structure itself.
Who are Kevin and Esta?
Kevin and Esta do not know each other; however they both live in Brisbane close to my home. I met them randomly a few years back and since January 2017, I have been meeting with them very often. When I go to visit them at their houses, we normally sit down at the table and talk for hours. Esta is ninety-three years old; she is a very lovely, clever and wise woman, and luckily, she is a great storyteller too. Kevin is eighty-six years old, he is very gentle, sensitive and a great listener. Naturally, we have become very good friends; I am very grateful for their time and patience, for sharing their knowledge and lives stories with me and for allowing me to make them public.
The making process
The project initiated in January 2017, and so far the tasks involved in producing the artist books have expanded to include photography, recording audio and video, transcribing conversations, designing, printing, and bookbinding. Eight handmade book dummies have been produced. The written stories are narrated in the first person as they were extracted from extended conversations that I had with Kevin and Esta, usually in their homes while having a cup of tea; the stories were written through the cut-out technique which allowed me treating the content carefully and working exhaustively on details.
* Cut-Out technique
* collating Esta’s sequence