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A Midsummer's Wet Dream: An Exploratory Artists' Book

Midsummer’s Wet Dream is a work that explores the explicit synergy between performative text and theatrical performance. A Midsummer Night’s Dream disrupts the cannon of tragedies that populate the Shakespearian Artists’ book collections. The work questions how the content and form of Artists’ books act together as co-creative presences to redefine the medium of book and of theatrical text. This research project focused on Artists’ books that “perform”: how does the explicit presence of a “performance” in an already performative medium animate the work? What shape does that multiplicity take? Is the book’s physical form an equally explicit conductor of meaning? Over the course of ten weeks, the project unfolded as a series of drafts and “sketch” books that were literary tinder for the final piece. Through mentorship with bookmaker Alicia Bailey, further iteration was made to the project, and key insight was gained in the practices of bookmaking. A Midsummer Night’s Dream became the conduit for this work due to the “play within a play” that ultimately informed the form of the book. The final work took shape as a single edition book, comprised of a “book” shell of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that houses a pop-up book that details the play within A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This work has since been collected by the DU special collections library and joins in a lineage of artist books that engage deeply with theatrical texts.