idiom origin

Throughout the ‘20s, records progressively became louder to take advantage of the proliferation of gramophones that had no volume knob. The phrase “put a sock in it” actually references cramming a sock into the horn of a gramophone to stifle the sound on louder recordings.


aztec skull

^ Aztec skull encrusted with turquoise mosaic, believed to represent Tezcatlipoca in his black aspect as lord of misfortune.

Temptation of St. Anthony

^ St. Anthony of Egypt was a 3rd century Christian ascetic who withdrew from the world and was plagued by bizarre and nightmare visions, which included multitudes of demons in frightening animal forms.

(“The Temptation of St. Anthony,” an engraving by Martin Schongauer.)

sorted books

by Nina Katchadourian:

By organizing books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, I construct phrases, stories, poems. Sometimes people refer to it as “spine poetry.”

Sorted Books: "A Day at the Beach"

I’m always looking for ways to put the physicality of the books front and center. There is, for me, an absolutely elemental importance to engage the books as physical objects: to consider height, width, heft, color, typeface, texture, gloss, damage, dust jacket. These things communicate in different ways than language can, and to me they are as big as part of how the images are “read” as the words on the spines or covers.