For a period of ten years, a part of my practice was carried on in a space of ten by fifteen by two centimeters—one might call it an extreme space. Beginning in 1991, I was traveling very much—lecturing, teaching, and working on the occasional project—and not often near my drawing board. As a way of coping with being on airplanes, trains, living in hotel rooms, cafes, and bars, I began to keep notebooks in which I could draw and write while on the move. This was very important to me, as my thoughts were alive with new ideas that could not be put on hold. So the pages of the notebooks became a studio I could keep in my pocket, unfolding its nearly limitless space whenever I needed.
By the beginning of the new millennium, I was winding down my travels, though hardly the flow of new ideas. Still, I became a bit more settled and could work in a more settled spot. Making the notebooks had by that time become a habit. For a while, I continued to work in them until I realized, reluctantly, that they were really finished, and I moved on to other ways of working. In all, I made some thirty notebooks of the small size, and a dozen of various larger sizes.
The notebooks turned out to be a wise decision, as many ideas that became projects for Sarajevo, Havana, Eindhoven and elsewhere saw first light in transit. Not coincidentally, many of the ideas had to do with the transitory nature of living in social or political or natural conditions undergoing rapid, even extreme, forms of change. Shifting angles of view, abrupt arrivals and departures, confrontations with the unexpected and the strange become more than metaphors, but rather a way of living for many today.
Notebooks are portable. They can be kept secret, or published. Technically, they are simple to make. Pen and paper. The hand, eye, and thought. Freed from any sort of burdensome apparatus, thought becomes more agile in confronting itself.
This is the first in a series of glances into the notebooks.
Initial drawings for The Hermitage, Eindhoven, The Netherlands:
The Hermitage, constructed in the Witte Dame (White Lady), Eindhoven:
About this entry
You’re currently reading “NOTEBOOK 98-3,” an entry on LEBBEUS WOODS
- March 3, 2009 / 4:43 pm
- Lebbeus Woods