The other day, I received an email that blew my mind. It was from New York contemporary artist Steve Miller, and it concerned my 2008 book Almost Green: How I Saved 1/6th of a Billionth of the Planet.
“Part of my practice is silk-screening into other books,” Miller wrote. “I recently completed a transformation of Almost Green. There are some sample pages below. I can assure you that in this effort you are in good company such as the Nobel Laureates Al Gore and James Watson.”
And then this, with these captions:
Amazing, right? It gets better: “When I make these books I silk screen print on every page of the book, and this can take a year to do. In your case two years.”
Wait. Two years?
As it turns out, for the past 24 months, while I’ve been going about my life, on the other side of the continent, Steve has been quietly transforming my work into something truly spectacular. His email explained that he’s done similar treatments with Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance and James Watson’s The Double Helix.
I called Steve up to thank him for the tremendous honor, and ask a few questions, starting with, why me? Why this?
“You know The Strand bookshop? I came across your book there one day,” Miller said. “Your book caught my attention because I liked the premise, this idea of how its not easy being green, it takes a conscious effort, and its a dialogue that we aspire to, but getting down to it is another thing. I knew I had a lot of the imagery that could go with that, and so I said, ‘this works for me.’”
Miller called the transformations “absurdist exercises that I do, that are completely financially futile.”
This also describes the Eco-Shed I built in my front yard, the writing studio that became an obsession and a curse—the building that is at the heart of Almost Green.
My book “embodies the dialogue we are all a part of , the contractions, the impossibility of it, the need to do it,” said Miller. “I hope that is implied in this object.”
“It is about doing something that doesn’t make any sense, it embodies all the absurdity of everyday reality.”
Miller is an accomplished artist. He has held 35 solo shows, all over the world. Currently, he is showing in a traveling museum show in Mexico and his next solo show opens January 9th in Bern, Switzerland. In August 2013, he will have a solo museum show at the National Academy Of Sciences in Washington, DC. That work is about a collaboration with the 2003 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Rod McKinnon.
Miller does not yet have a name for this new work, but he is shipping it to me to check out first-hand, and sign, before sending back.
I can’t wait to see it.
Postscript, January 24 2013:
I don’t have the book yet, but Steve has sent along two additional images, including the dust jacket.