On Wednesday Dr. Robert Schultz gave a talk in the library as part of the Faculty Showcase series. He talked about his recent experience in publishing using different media. He handmade a book, Face to Face, and recently released an iBook entitled Asternal Alters.
Schultz’s recent projects have been combining poetry and leaf prints. The leaf prints are all made by hand, taking a leaf from a plant and overlaying a transparency on top of it. Naturally, the sun will bleach the negative of the image.
He was originally inspired by Bihn Dahn’s leaf prints that used images from the Cambodian Genocide. He found Bihn Dahn’s work in a museum in Roanoke years ago. In response to the powerful images he was seeing, Schultz started writing poetry.
Shultz and Bihn Dahn were able to work together a few years ago when Dahn was an artist in residence at Hollins University. The book Ancestral Alters, with Dahn’s leaf prints and Shultz’s poems, came out of the collaboration.
They ran into a snafu trying to publish Ancestral Alters, wanting to have the best quality book. The best route seemed to be digital publication to get high the resolution images on the page. Schultz teamed up with Katherine McNamara, an editor, to make the iBook (available on the Apple store).
Part of the process to make the iBook was recording all of the poetry, which Schultz did himself.
He said, “If I could, I would rerecord some of these, [Katherine McNamara] wound me up. She was going for the affect. I think there’s too much affect.”
In the book there are also videos that are paired with some of the poetry. Schultz showed two of the short films during his lecture.
Amused with the concept of what they call ‘moving poetry’ he said, “It’s like a trailer for a book of poetry.”
On the opposite spectrum, away from the digital, Schultz also handmade a book. Face to Face pairs Walt Whitman’s poetry with leaf prints. He used an old-fashion printing press at the Virginia Arts of the Book Center in Charlottesville to print the book.
With each poem there is a leaf print that pairs well with the content of the poem or a print of Walt Whitman himself.
There were only three copies of the book made; one is owned by Schultz, one bought by the University of Virginia, and the other is part of a display with some of Bihn Dahn’s work. While the text and images in all three books are the same, the leaves are unique to each.
The exhibit “War Memoranda” that came out of the collaboration was in Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art last year and is currently on display at the University of Rochester in New York.
Schultz is continuing to work on leaf prints. His current project is to make prints in tulip leaves with the portraits of famous environmentalists.