I had a really good conversation two nights ago with my friend Ben (we went through grad school, our thesis shows, September 11th, and the courtship of our respective spouses together, and he is one of my best critics).
We talked about the framework of the transformed books project, and the issues of audience and viewer. He described my work on Baby Proof as an 'Intervention' (it's so helpful when your friends teach college art history!), which seemed more accurate to me than 'Altered Book,' because the actual matter of the book - and the public's ability to read it - is being intervened with, whereas most Altered Books are items that have been transformed aesthetically, but not with the particular subject matter in mind. Since one of my collateral aims is to give the public a chance to think about the library and the life of library books in a new way, Intervention is a useful concept-structure to put my thoughts into. (Hmm - talking to Ben also makes me slip back into Conceptual Art speak....)
Ben also talked about what makes my work speak - he used words like 'emotional intimacy,' and he nudged me to bring the qualities of massing into this project, to focus on more emotionally challenging books, and to create things that are less literal and more visceral. Which is how my work generally manifests, so that makes sense.
So I'm setting Baby Proof aside for now - if I suddenly come up with a brilliant idea for how to continue it, I'll pick it up again. I'm not saying it's terrible, but I need to move on. I've just started reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, so maybe that will turn into the next title, if I can find a weeded copy.