Anzac Monkey, my accordion book
For my next book project I wanted to explore the phenomenon of the 'Anzac Monkey' that James Brown writes about in his book, Anzac's Long Shadow. The 'Anzac Monkey' is a term that describes how the unwavering high esteem and heroic status of the World War One veterans can make contemporary veterans feel as if they do not measure up. I used images of broken down and collaged 'digger' statues to produce unwieldy, overbearing and monstrous 'Anzac' zombie. The zombie is a device used in Craig Stockings' Zombie Myths which talks to the undying legends of Australian military history and how a fantasied history can affect a nation going forward. I write about this in more detail in an essay soon to be published in the contemporary print Imprint magazine. I will post it on this site later on.
The copper plate etches I used for this project were from my Ubique series, and within that group of prints there were some more complicated images which didn't fit the simplicity of the counter-monument work I am doing. These were the ones that relate more to the Anzac Monkey, Anzac Zombie and the psychology theory Family Systems - where different parts of your emotional self tries to make sense of reality.
You can see here that I researched a number of ways to make a simply bound or accordion book. I trialed plenty of mock ups looking for the best book form to represent the ideas behind the book and make the most of the prints I had.
However, in the end I decided to do a very simple book where the iterations of experience are linked together in a sculptural and simple way. I wanted to make a black cover on the piece to make it feel like an archive or diary. I used abstracted copper plate etches of the ruined Anzac monument of Tingalpa, Queensland circa 1937 to backfill behind the covers and link to the counter-monument themes of my work.
These are pictures of the methodical and time consuming process I undertook to ensure the images aligned, were attached seamlessly, and a cover was made to fit the book block. For each gluing component, the book was pressed for at least 24 hours.
Below are pictures and a video of the final piece: