Lexicon 97: t-shirt sofa

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Announcing the Lexicon 97

T-Shirt Sofa

Perhaps I was both inspired and guilt-ridden  about  recent local business losses.  Borders is struggling —on a somewhat insensitive level, it occurs to me that perhaps a struggle to maintain borders, and separation between, for instance: ideas, cultures, empowerment is useful.  That such borders can be flexible, malleable, subject to influence from what is on the other side of the separation, not entirely excluded as an intimacy of multiple entities confronting that border system allows for some degree of marking or influence on some scale to occur.  In time and circumstance, a border system may weaken as an outcome of multi-directional seepage across the border system, even bits of manipulated logic and compassion with an ability to produce hybrid forms and degrees of merger that are less likely to occur without border mingling or contamination.  

But what's closing around me are Border's bookstores

whose product boundaries have not mingled as successfully or as quickly with digital rivals.  I am among those not purchasing as many conventional books, saving such purchase considerations for a book whose materiality is unique, a precious object rather than one mass produced where the configuration is not a collaboration with ideas, a collaboration that would influence emergence of the form of material expression.  And while I don't have the materiality of a Kindle, I do have several iterations of the Kindle app: for iPhone, for Mac, and for iPad; in fact the existence of the app for the iPhone preceded Apple's own iBooks which I also have and use, preferring iBooks' interface over the Kindle app, but both are active on my devices.  Increasingly, it's becoming more appropriate to refer to Kindle Culture than to just discuss an e-reader or digital device.

I have not bothered to acquire, I must confess, Borders' digital book app, and offhand, I can't recall its name; I'll have to looked it up: Kobo. 

Follow a trail of Borders' woe on the device of your choice —perhaps while sitting on a sofa.  Half of the closed Shaman Drum Independent Bookstore is now a Five Guys burger establishment on the central campus of the University of Michigan; sometimes the line of customers spills out of the retained sumptuous wooden door.

e-READERS on display: iBooks image from geek.com, Kindle versus (Barnes & Noble) Nook image from wired.com, Kobo image from myce.com, Sony reader image from katzlib.

In my own neighborhood, the House of Sofas just went out of business.  Here, the guilt is more defined.  I bought a sofa during the time that the House of Sofas and its splendid showroom was available, within five miles of the room where the sofa was placed, but I traveled instead sixty miles to Windsor, Ontario to purchase a sofa comparable to those in the House of Sofas.  Would the purchase of a single sofa have made a difference?   We tend to keep our furniture beyond redemption of the object that our bodies have marked, so that it's clear which chair is mine, which sofa cushion has adjusted to my contours. (Image from Ann Arbor.com, the online replacement of the Ann Arbor News, once printed daily until supplanted by the proliferation of digital news choices.  Twice a week we receive a print version of Ann Arbor.com in a much smaller format than the defunct Ann Arbor News, but Ann Arbor.com online is more convenient.)

Thinking further about modifications of interaction helped me to more intensely crave information about the t-shirts contributing to the lexicons of the freeform books.  The intimacy shared with a t-shirt is quite revealing, odor signatures in the seam attaching sleeves into armholes, discoloration from a team of deodorants, anti-perspirants, the chemical composition of sweat: 2-methylphenol (o-cresol) and 4-methylphenol (p-cresol) [an odor apparently attractive, the link reveals, female mosquitoes], as well as a small amount of urea (from wikipedia).

A small exploration emerged in intimate marking of inanimate objects combining t-shirts and sofas.  I acquired a discarded sofa that had been marked in a household where the sofa had been in service.  A broken peg leg and dimpled seat cushion were obvious upon a quick initial visual observation.  Debris under the cushion.  Tears in the gauze covering of springs.  Kitchen odors, spices and grease.  A sign of fish in the fibers of jelly-rolled armrest.  This discarded sofa is going to be reupholstered with discarded t-shirts, and will join the lexicon 97 installations that include: a spiral-arm clothesrack, a freeform t-shirt book, a free-standing full-length mirror, jars of unused words, and a basket of t-shirt skeletons.  So far, I've draped the t-shirts on the sofa, and will attach them permanently this spring and summer.


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