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- an exploration of home -

senior thesis - paul carlos - fall 2012 - pucd 4205 - crn 3050 -


Proposal

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Ideas/Sketches

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Inspiration

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Research (early print industry) (state of decline) (education) (crime) (crime: sabina)

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Components (exploring social media interaction) (chap book)

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End Goal

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For my thesis, I want to address two broad topics - the changes in/decline of the print industry, and the current socioeconomic state of my hometown, Philadelphia - which, through research and execution, will be compiled into an artist book, and broken down into a series of subsections which, ideally, will reveal the threads that bind these topics together (literally and metaphorically). I was born and raised in Philly, and hold the city and my experiences there very near and dear to my heart. My mother is an avid reader, and from the time I was very young, she spent hours with me in the library, instilling in me the sacred power of books and the printed word. Many years have passed, and much has changed since then. While studying at Lang/Parsons, I've learned nothing if not that given our ever-advancing technologies, printed matter as we know it (magazines, books, newspapers) is all but obsolete. Similarly, it was only through leaving Philly for the bustling epicenter of New York that I was able to look at my hometown through a different lens, and see for the first time the many social, political, and economic issues that plague the place I love so well. In spite of everything I've been taught, I still believe in books, and am perhaps stubbornly insistent on keeping them relevant. In our internet culture of e-readers and digitization, I think that artist books are one of the last tools to keep physical books viable, and that, contrary to the speculation of many, their value in our society will only continue to increase as other printed mediums become fewer and more far between; that people will become nostalgic for the tactility of pages, the skill of hand craft. It is with that same hopeful stubbornness that I believe in Philadelphia's potential. What began as a powerful hub of innovation and production, the city now has one of the highest poverty rates of any in America. Philly’s public schools are notoriously bad, the crime rates are higher than the skyscrapers, and adolescent boys are more likely to end up incarcerated than they are to graduate high school. A recent study found that 40% of children in Philly are living at, or below the poverty line . For one of the largest cities in the country, this statistic is abominable. Living in New York, it's impossible to even imagine that same problem here, despite the less than 100-mile distance between the cities.

In spite, or perhaps because of this, Philadelphia is one of the most spirited, communal cities I know. There is a distinct sense of camaraderie shared by Philadelphians that I've experienced nowhere else. I truly can’t think of one person I grew up with who doesn’t emphatically love Philadelphia. This paradoxical love of a city that on paper, seems to be failing its inhabitants, has always intrigued me, and it’s this paradox that I hope to shed light on through my thesis work. As a BAFA student, I’ve taken many poetry classes at Lang, and last year spent a semester creating a chapbook of poems on my coming of age in Philly. The poems were all research based, which was a style of writing I’d never done before, and one that I’ve grown to really love. I later revised this chapbook for a book making class I was taking at Parsons. I found the process of designing the layout and binding the book myself very intimate, and an appropriate way to channel the personal basis of the text. I’d like to continue to revise and expand upon this work for my thesis, creating a link stitch style artist book, comprised of many signatures, each with their own focus. It will no longer be just a book of poetry, although the poems will be part of the book. I want to do more personal writings for my project, and am planning on also including writings I’ve done for other classes that relate to the evolutions of the print industry as well. Since working on the original poem collection, I’ve been documenting personal and public (mostly Facebook) interactions between some of the people I’ve grown up with that have something to do with Philly. Most of these interactions have happened online, and I’m interested in exploring ways of incorporating these things into the book as well, which would create another link between modern digital communication/bookmaking, while being relevant to the topic of Philly. To further flesh out my project, I want to include relevant newspaper articles, images, research, and possibly info graphics on the current state of Philadelphia (as well as the print industry). Although the work has a very personal basis, I think that with the inclusion of outside sources, it has the potential to open up more into a commentary on the city as a whole- something that emphasizes that I am just one small part of an enormous, age old machine (like say, a printing press), which, to an outsider, may seem to be defunct, but that, upon closer examination, still has so much potential to offer.

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Goal: To create an artist book that loosely ties together the decline of the print industry with Philadelphia’s state of decline.

Execution: Incorporate research, images, interviews, personal experiences, prose and poetry. Assemble all final materials as a link stitch style book.

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(early print industry)

From: www.phillyfiction.com/.webloc

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(early print industry)

From: http://www.workshopoftheworld.com/overview/overview.html

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(state of decline)

From: http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/morning_roundup/2012/09/philadelphia-manufacturing-still-in.html

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(state of decline)

From: http://articles.philly.com/2012-09-21/news/33978472_1_poverty-rate-median-household-income-census-figures-show

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(education)

This is the high school and middle school I went to. Acceptance is based on test scores, so all of the students are “above average.” Because it’s a public school, there is very little money in the budget and resources are less than ideal, though without a doubt, it affords a much better education and learning experience than any other public school in the city, and is consistently rated one of the best public schools in the country. I’d like to further explore the bonds between students and faculty here, as well as the differences between the education I received, versus that of the typical Philadelphia public school student. From: http://www.phillymag.com/articles/philadelphias-high-schools-2012-guide/

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(education)

From: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/pennsylvania/districts/the-school-district-of-philadelphia/julia-r-masterman-laboratory-and-demonstration-school-17216

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(education)

From http://yinzercation.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/cuts-have-consequences/

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(education)

From: http://yinzercation.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/a-liar-and-a-cheat/

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(crime) (education) From http://visual.ly/education-vs-incarceration: “Using Philadelphia as an example, this graphic compares the cost, both financial and societal, of education and incarceration. Designed by Jason Killinger for Maskar Design”

PA invests more money into jails than schools. The high school graduation rate is abysmal, and young men growing up in Philadelphia are more likely to end up in jail than they are to graduate high school. I’d like to further explore creating my own infographics to interpret this, and other research shown here, specifically in relation to crime and education, and the ties between both.

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(crime)

Crime statistics from: http://www.phillypolice.com/about/crime-statistics/

From: http://articles.philly.com/2012-07-13/news/32649410_1_prison-population-shawn-hawes-inmates-last-spring

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(crime)

Crime map as of October, 2012 from: https://www.crimereports.com/ Data provided by the Philadelphia Police Dept.

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(crime)

Philadelphia Crime Rate Report from: www.cityrating.com/crimestatistics/pennsylvania/philadelphia.html#.UHs62XC5Ib9

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(crime)

Philadelphia Crime Rate Report from: www.cityrating.com/crimestatistics/pennsylvania/philadelphia.html#.UHs62XC5Ib9

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(crime)

Philadelphia Crime Rate Report from: www.cityrating.com/crimestatistics/pennsylvania/philadelphia.html#.UHs62XC5Ib9

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(crime)

Homicide Analysis Reports 2007 -2010 from: http://www.phillypolice.com/assets/PPD.Homicide.Analysis.2007-2010.pdf

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(crime)

Homicide Analysis Reports 2007 -2010 from: http://www.phillypolice.com/assets/PPD.Homicide.Analysis.2007-2010.pdf

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(crime)

Homicide Analysis Reports 2007 -2010 from: http://www.phillypolice.com/assets/PPD.Homicide.Analysis.2007-2010.pdf

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(crime: sabina) These next few pages are articles from the case of Sabina Rose O’Donnell. Sabina went to my school for middle school, then left to go to a different high school. She was a year ahead of me, and many people that I knew were good friends with her. I want to make it clear (so as not to romanticize this) that she and I were not friends, and I’m almost certain that she had no clue who I was. The only interaction we ever had was competing against each other in a Mock Trial competition once. Still, as we were close in age and shared friends, I saw her everywhere, and was mesmerized by her beauty, style, and the overall sense of life and joy that emanated from her. In June of 2010, she was brutally raped and murdered. The crime was senseless, devastating, and terrifying. Though I’d grown up bombarded with stories of violence my whole life, this was the first case that deeply affected me in a personal way, and is what spurred my interest in wanting to explore Philadelphia on a deeper level. For two weeks after her murder, it was unclear who the attacker was, and that period of not knowing changed my interaction with the city completely. For the first time in my life, I felt afraid of my city, and saw it not as a vibrant, welcoming place, but as something evil; a place that didn’t care about its residents- a place that could just as easily turn its back on, and destroy me. For the first time I felt limited in where I could go. I suddenly feared everyone I saw on the street, and was constantly looking over my shoulder, overwhelmed with the realization that if something could happen to her, an innocent girl my age, than it could happen to me too. Over time, it became clear that her attacker was Donte Johnson, a high school drop out from a disenfranchised neighborhood. His motive was a senseless as the crime itself; he initially wanted to steal the bike she’d been riding home, but as she struggled, the situation escalated into something unthinkable, and out of control. Years have passed, and recently, Johnson’s trial has ended, and he’s been sentenced to life in prison. 18 at the time of the attack, he’s now only in his early 20s, the same age Sabina was when he so brutally ended her life. Now, his own life is essentially over. Though I’ll never be able to understand, never mind reconcile his actions, I can’t help but wonder how much of Johnson’s story is a product of his being raised in a community that could’ve cared less about him. His is a story of many young men who grow up in Philly- poor, fatherless, unsupported by his school, raised with a sense that there’s no way out, no bigger or better life waiting for him. Why isn’t action being taken to prevent this, to offer the same sense of possibility I grew up with to those in less fortunate areas? How many more cases like this must occur until the city’s had enough?

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(crime: sabina)

From: http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-01/news/31498582_1_bike-apartment-building-plantings

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(crime: sabina)

From: http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-01/news/31498582_1_bike-apartment-building-plantings

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(crime: sabina)

From: http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-01/news/31498582_1_bike-apartment-building-plantings

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(crime: sabina)

When I was in high school, my mom started working for a program that dealt with at-risk youth in the city. She worked with multiple groups of boys, ages 12 - 18, who’d been charged with crimes and were awaiting their trials. Because the juvenile detention facilities in the city are already overcrowded, these kids were sent into this program instead of “juvie” until their cases came up in court.

On Sabina:

On Donte Johnson:

Although many of them were charged with very intense, adult crimes, such as drug dealing, rape, violence, and theft, through working with them, my mom came to know them as people, and was able to see them beyond their criminal records. All of them came from underprivileged, poverty ridden parts of the city. Few of them had fathers, and even less got any positive support from their families, schools, or communities. Essentially, they weren’t bad people, they just came from bad circumstances, and grew up feeling like success in, or escape from their down and communities was impossible. I’m interested in exploring this further, and relating it to this case in particular, as well as to crime in Philly in general.

From: http://www.phillymag.com/articles/feature-understanding-the-man-who-killed-sabina-rose-o-donnell/9/

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(crime: sabina)

From: http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-10/news/31642344_1_guilty-verdict-life-sentence-surveillance-video

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(exploring social media interactions)

I’ve been documenting social media interactions between people that I know regarding Philly, and am interested in incorporating these bits as well as interviews or profiles of other people’s coming of age experiences, to get different viewpoints. I want to experiment with portraying digital media on a physical page.

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(chap book)

The following are images of the chap book, “Youth Map” I made for a poetry class last year. All of the writing I did relates to my experience of growing up in Philly, and I plan on incorporating this into my thesis, as well as adding more personal writing to it. All of the poems are based on research, though it isn’t presented in the chap book. I’m interested in re-presenting that research as part of this project, and perhaps using the various subjects of the poems to dictate the sections of the new book I’m creating.

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(chap book)

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(chap book)

This illustration is drawn directly into the book, and I’d like to experiment further with hand drawn aspects in this project.

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(chap book)

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(moving forward)

- Gather and organize as much research as possible - Include more positivity, examples of community, “brotherly love� - Talk to teachers, friends, community leaders for stories - Organize photos - Revise/ do more personal writing

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Jenny Holt / Youth Map  

An artist book exploring my, and others' relation to Philadelphia.

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