Foot(note) Fetish

Black and Red © Catherine Rutgers 2012Footnotes are lovely. Really. Do you like what you’re reading and want to discover more? Do you enjoy getting credit for your work? Consider footnotes as your vehicle to knowledge and your best bet for sending or receiving due respect.

The original thesis has endnotes in the back, on pages titled “Footnotes.” Curiouser and curiouser.

It was so hard using a typewriter to create them. The paper is onion skin. It’s a little crinkly, a bit slick, and has aged to a mellow tawny color. There are brushed-on strokes of white-out here and there. There are attempts to fix letters with a pen. The holes were punched by hand. On the back of the last page, on ring reinforcers, there are two tiny notes: SORRY and I TRIED. Apologizing for the twice-punched page, which apparently I couldn’t bear to retype.

What the heck were those ring things called? I think they peeled off a strip and you wet them to stick. Or did they come in a package and you poured them out? Most of them have fallen off. The typewriter clattered and made a distinct grinding noise when you rolled up the page and ultimately ripped it out of the machine. Something that I haven’t heard in decades but think I would recognize instantly if it appeared again in my life.

Can you get a feeling of how physical this was?

Sometimes I think the inspiration for the entire project to digitize “Untitled” was the way the black ink turned red in part of some letters. These footnotes are survivors. Here they are in all their glory, transported to the 21st century.

Footnotes 1-15 © Catherine Rutgers 2012Footnotes 16-31 © Catherine Rutgers 2012Footnotes 32-47 © Catherine Rutgers 2012Footnotes 48-54 © Catherine Rutgers 2012Trying to Do It Right © Catherine Rutgers 2012

The Positive Side of Negative Space © Catherine Rutgers 2012

Scans of a bygone era.
Catherine Rutgers © 2012

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One Response to Foot(note) Fetish

  1. Translating once-common methods of communication into the digital world is an ongoing theme of my artwork, and I was delighted to hear from a subscriber who has graciously agreed to my sharing their thoughts here: “When I was a kid, my dad would let us go to work with him once in a while. He was managing editor at the local newspaper. So, I grew up with ‘copy’ and lots of stuff written on the manual typewriter. Yes, those scans give off a very interesting ‘feeling’, and with colors and other artistic/photographic techniques added, make a wonderful transition to art.

    “One thing that struck me, when I first saw your pieces a few years ago, was just how long it had been since I saw something written on a manual typewriter, and how distinctive the printed page looked compared to computer generated. Finding a way to put that into a work of art is definitely very creative, and very unique.”

    If you’d like to see more on the phenomenon, check out Handwritten, Typewriter, Type, posted on January 11, 2011.

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