Cut copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes, with stamped red ink
Much of my work focuses on the image of text based on a Cabalistic belief, which explains that two holy books were actually handed down: the Black Torah and the White Torah. The Black one is made of all the black letters while the White Torah is made up of all the space between them – between the words and between the letters — where the Cabalists believed true wisdom could be found. My interest is interlinearity, this ‘in-between’, the portion of knowledge and the world that we ignore or omit, or consider negative space — the pause in a sentence, the gesture before the act, the twilight between two portions of the day.
I have never been able to cut into the words of another: I once tried to alter the text in a Jewish prayer book and after several pages I felt utterly foolish. Since that experience I rarely considered altering found material as part of my artistic practice, but upon occasion, I have chosen to write my own text and then alter it.
So it is with some surprise that I will say that I enjoyed ‘writing’ Safer Code. It was not an easy task, as the two previous iterations are so far superior. And yet, I was blessed with strong material: some of Schulz’s fantastic language, along with Foer’s transformative editing. I thank both these extraordinary authors!