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David colosi - A Tragicomedy in two acts


David Colosi - A Tragicomedy in Two Acts
I made this work (1990) from the memory of a story my American literature professor told my fellow classmates and me (1987).  Recently (2006), I asked him to retell the story: 


David Colosi - A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

STORY: “I was standing in line at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey shortly after I was drafted into the army (during the Korean war).  We were waiting for shots, dozens upon dozens of new recruits, with the line stretching out the door of the medical building and into the road.  I remember being astonished at the recruit in front of me – as he stood waiting he read a paperback book and after he finished each page, he tore it out and threw it away.  We, of course, weren't supposed to litter, so I don't remember if he threw the page on the road or stuffed it into his pocket.  (I think he may have actually just thrown it away, not yet knowing the rules.)  I've always thought it was his rather unusual way of not losing his place.  (He obviously had a wonderful indifference to other losses.)  Anyway, to me, as a recent BA in English and even then a young bibliophile, it was astonishing, extraordinary, horrifying.”

– Edgar J. Burde –

ACT 1:  With the intention of trying this method of reading, I went into a bookstore.  I walked out with Waiting for Godot.  I went to a wooded area and began walking and reading.  As I read I tore out each page, crumpled it, and left it where I had finished it.  After getting through only half of the book, far too conscious of my process, I began to feel guilty for littering (among other things).  I looked back at the trail of page crumbs I had left behind and then backtracked and collected the pages in a pile in front of me.  I continued to read, tearing out and crumpling each page as I completed it and adding it to the pile.

David Colosi - A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

David Colosi - A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

ACT II:  Unable to part with the pages, I collected the pile and brought it back to my studio.  After several days of wrestling with my inability to part with the pile – and my inability to part with my project – I decided to put the book back together.  I flattened out the pages and put them between the front and back cover with disregard for page order.  I still have them today.

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