"Echoes" by Islam Aly. "I made this book to document the words that were repeated in the streets of Cairo during the Egyptian Spring of 2011 when millions of protesters from a variety of socioeconomic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of the regime. The people repeated the three words: Bread [livelihood], Freedom, and Social Justice. I used Arabic Kufic script and spelled the words Eish, Horeya, Adala Egtemaeya Bread, Freedom and Social Justice. These words are repeated over and over in different ways along the 30 sections. The book is an effort to remember and reflect on these events. It also serves as a reminder for the revolutions main demands. Additionally, the book incorporates details of Cairos streets on the front and backboards. Cairo’s map is also laser engraved on three edges of the book."
"Why You Can't Get Married" by Nava Atlas. "Why You Can’t Get Married: An Unwedding Album demonstrates how the very arguments used to oppose interracial marriage in generations past have been recycled for use against same-sex marriage. The album’s prettiness stands in stark contrast to the ugliness of the language of bias framed within, a stark reminder that there’s still a way to go to before equal protection under the law is achieved, affecting the freedom to marry desired by numerous committed couples. I made this book because I observe the absurd situation of several sets of gay friends whose marriages aren’t recognized in the states in which they live. In addition, I’m the parent of a transgender bisexual daughter and believe that who she chooses to love, and eventually settle down with, should not be dictated by outmoded laws."
"Illustrated History No. 15" by Mariona Barkus. "This is the fifteenth in a continuing series I began in 1981. I chose the postcard format because it is intended as an activist’s tool. Illustrated History No. 15 mimics a newspaper, combining fabricated illustrations with factual texts. I’m chronicling contemporary social and political issues with implications for our future, as well as pondering whether the surreal has become the new normal. The topics include: Privatization of Prisons-for-Profit; Domestic Commercial Drones Invade U.S. Airspace; Deleterious Effects of Excessive Digital Screen Time; Bulletproofing Children and Schools As the Only Viable Alternative to the NRA Gun-Control Stranglehold; Environmental Consequences of a Projected Oil Boom in U.S.A.; Keeping in Touch Via Posthumous Social Media; War on Women’s Basic Rights; and ALEC Writes Legislation for Corporations’ Benefit at Expense of Individual Rights."
"Sunt Lacrimae Rerum" by Amaranth Borsuk. "Created in response to the bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad’s street of booksellers, Sunt Lacrimae Rerum mourns the loss of both books and bodies. It takes its title from Aeneas’s words of sorrow uttered before a Carthaginian mural depicting the Trojan War. Tragedy must be brought home to us, but how can we relay the depths of loss—a very idea predicated on absence? This reliquary is part lachrymatory: it contains a book whose text of tears is designed to tear away at itself each time the book is displayed. Pleated into an accordion, it plays the elegy for its own effacement as, gradually, the cut-out letters catch on one another, pulling themselves up and off the page until they may fall away entirely. Not only is the book’s texture designed to transform, but its text does as well: page by page, one letter of the phrase changes at each turn. Although right now, 'these are the tears of things,' over time we might enter a space 'where all the tears embraced.'"
"Earth Cube" by Kate Boyes. "A dead zone is growing in the ocean along Oregon’s central coast, where I live. Dead zones lack adequate oxygen, making it hard for life to exist in them. In the past, they were found almost exclusively in areas with high levels of population and pollution. We have little population or pollution here, so what caused the new dead zone? Scientists believe the answer might look like this: climate change → warmer water → changes in ocean currents → changes in wind patterns → lack of wind to reoxygenate the water → lack of oxygen → death or dispersal of sea life = dead zone. One change to a cycle or system in the natural world can have a cascading effect. Earth Cube, my response to the dead zone, is stable when all panels work together but falls apart when one is removed. Easy reassembly instructions are included."
"Safe Distance" by Kate Boyes. "Safe Distance explores a surreal phenomenon: the conscious or subconscious creation by an individual of a profound disconnect between the mind and the body. Some people who experience prolonged physical violence and abuse use this as a survival technique. I used the technique to survive a violent relationship. Living in my mind was the only way I could cope when everything about my physical existence hurt. Both the violence and the phenomenon have lasting effects, and survivors are often described as closed up, bristly, perpetually on edge. Those descriptors guided my construction of the book. A strap holds the book tightly closed and makes a ripping sound when opened; pointed sweet gum pods poke the hand slightly when the book is held; and the strap holds the book on edge when it is on display. The text for Safe Distance is a poem I wrote while experiencing the mind-body disconnect."
"Never Again, Again" by Lark Burkhart. "The systematic murder of six million European Jews has haunted me since childhood. How could it even happen? Genocide—a horror so huge it needed a new word. Slowly, the world community, through the United Nations, has begun struggling with the need to prevent crimes against humanity. The Responsibility to Protect is emerging as an international mandate following the failure of peacekeeping in Rwanda. Atrocities against civilians are still with us, but perhaps we are inching our way toward making Never Again more than an empty promise."
"Assume the Position" by Ginger Burrell. "I walked into a full body scanner at airport security and was asked to stand with my feet apart and my arms held up. At that point I realized that we’ve become both victims and assumed criminals in choosing to travel by air. We are holding not only the position that a robber would demand, “put ‘em up,” but also the position of body searches commanded by the police, “put your hands above your head and spread ‘em.” To capture these feelings I photographed people with their hands up from behind and then used digital manipulation to alter the images to evoke the x-rays to which we are now subjected. Finally, I added text with sayings that a TSA agent, a police officer and a criminal might say to any of us."
"Sandy Hook" by Ginger Burrell. "Sandy Hook memorializes the 20 children and six staff members killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. When the shooting happened, I felt compelled to do something. Perhaps it was my 15 years as a pre-school director. Perhaps it was the thought of my nieces and nephews who trustingly go off to school every day. Certainly it was because of our short social memory and the way important events fade quickly after they are no longer in the headlines. In thinking about how to represent the children and school staff who were killed, I settled on the idea of using teddy bears for the children and apples for the adults. After spending several days purchasing individual bears and apples, I began taking the school portraits. It got harder and harder as I worked on the book, and taking the group photo left me in tears. I couldn’t help but think of all the group photos those children would never be in: graduation, weddings and countless family portraits. All of the artist’s profits will be donated to the United Way for the Newton Community."
"Gordian Knot" by Larry Calkins. "Gordian Knot is about something that scares me: environmental catastrophe, specifically nuclear disaster. Politicians and scientists risk destroying our sense of well being by threatening us with the indiscriminate destructive force of the atom bomb and by allowing dangerously unsafe environments such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, Japan to destroy lives of innocent bystanders. The potential for other disaster areas might be just a matter of time. The making of this book has coincided with the new crisis in the Ukraine. As a child I was made to feel vulnerable by Cold War rhetoric. Russia’s recent invasion of its peaceful neighbor reminds me of how unstable the world is and will always be. Political decision making often goes over the heads of a peace loving, general population and serves special interests of a few powerful players. I ask myself whether attacking Japan with nuclear bombs really helped win the war or whether, in the long run, we actually lost it."
"Amalgam" by Emily Chaplain. "Amalgam evolved from my interest in conflicting scientific studies that try to find out whether differences in the female and male brains determine things such as mental ability, personality, emotion and behavior. I am interested in the tension between these studies and the potential negative implications acceptance of research that finds inherent gendered brain difference could have on our lives and on obtaining gender equality in our society. The digitally printed accordion of Amalgam depicts a woman on the front and a man on the back, whose portraits were purposefully pixellated to give a sense of the images breaking down. I hand cut the pop out structure to give a sense of the two images blending together and weaving in and out of each other. The recession on the cover is a digital print evocative of neurons and was shaped to imply a microscopic slide."
"Coalesce" by Emily Chaplain. "The idea behind Coalesce grew from my interest in various conflicting scientific studies that try to find out whether differences in the female and male brains determine things such as mental ability, personality, emotion and behavior. I am interested in the tension between these studies and the potential negative implications acceptance of research that finds inherent gendered brain difference could have on our lives and on obtaining gender equality in our society. The pages of Coalesce show portraits of a woman and man intersecting to evoke a blending of characteristics and represent an androgynous mind. I view this piece as offering my solution to the conflicting research on gendered brain differences—one where the side of research that believes brains are a mosaic of female and male characteristics is accepted."
"Human Rights Overture" by Lin Charlston. "I was already researching human rights when I was inspired by Richard Hamilton’s probing use of mediated imagery at his retrospective at Tate Modern in early 2014. Human Rights Overture (UDHR) brings together the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a photo montage based largely on random photographs of TV News. The combination reveals a frightening gap between the high-flown principles of the UDHR and the realities that seep through the juddering, out-of-focus images. My own mask-like face looks inappropriately benign as I toy with the profoundly disturbing idea of identifying with some of the faces in the crowd. Are the people fighting for human rights or preventing them? I have chosen a sober and painstaking book structure to offset the more playful aspects of my approach to this serious question."
"My Little Book of Suicides" by Susan Collard. "Scratched into black paint on unembellished pages, this book is a sad and deeply personal story about suicide and guns within my family. It’s a difficult narrative to share. The pages of the book are sewn haphazardly shut, with a needle knotted onto the thread to allow the reader entrance. My family’s story, of course, is embedded in a broader social context. The book is sheathed in a canvas wrapper, which unwinds to reveal a series of national statistics on suicide and firearms. Suicide is by far the most common way to die by a gun in the United States, a fact that receives surprisingly little attention. It seems obvious that anyone choosing to own a gun should carefully consider how it is most likely to be used. Suicide is not a problem to be willed away by legislation, but speaking about it openly is a place to start." My Little Book of Suicides won a Best In Show Award in the Book Power Redux exhibition.
"TRASH" by Ann Coombs. "People are not disposable. TRASH engages viewers for one second, allowing just enough time for them to recognize, either intentionally or subliminally, who they choose to discard. In the illustration that progresses through this flip book, the trash transforms into a discarded person. I wanted to draw attention to the people we throw away everyday, kick to the curb and expect others to collect and remove from our sight. All artist proceeds from the sale of TRASH go towards human reclamation."