|Bridget O’Malley: “My imagery is visceral and personal in nature; biomorphic forms which originate as raw feeling and emotion in the subconscious and worm their way out through dreams, doodles and mind flashes. Some are precious and delicate, others, brutal and raw. In some way, all are cocoon-like beings; things which contain, sustain, nourish and protect a fragile life force. Mine.”
If the Plot Thickens...Just Add Water
By Bridget O'Malley
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bridget O'Malley, 1997. Edition of 50.
4 x 6.5 x 2.75"; 46 pages. Screen printing with water based inks. Handmade flax and cotton sheets. Non-adhesive binding with origami folds. Produced at Cave Paper and Minnesota Center for the Book.
Bridget O'Malley: "This book began as a reaction to a book titled 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them. In Master Plots, the theory is that no matter what story you are writing - novel, play, screenplay, etc. - all can be constructed through one of these twenty standard plots, which are presented with checklists to help you along. This struck me as more than a bit bizarre and absurd, so I decided to play along. Since the 'master plots' book takes a rather formulaic approach to creative writing, I decided to push the idea of 'plot' even further into the realm of formula and approach plot from a mathematical point of view. Each of the twenty plots was turned into an equation and plotted on a graph. In this case the graph happens to be made of lines of text layered with multiple meanings and interpretations of each plot. In many ways this book is more a primer or a beginning rather than a completed idea.
Each of the plots covers a fair amount of territory: 'Love' for example, is listed as one plot; 'Forbidden Love' another, I can see this as a potentially ongoing snowballing of ideas and investigations into the furthest depths of each plot. This of course brings into question the fact that my initial impetus for this book was reaction against it, but by embracing and continuing these investigations, am I buying into the notion that there really ARE only twenty plots in the world?"
More help from the artist: "There is no order to the individual insert cards in each page of the book. [These insert cards] do assemble to an overall image, a flat table piece which is all 20 of the 'plots' from each of the page spreads, here superimposed on each other. Representing the commonalities and unique features of each plot.
"For example, most plot lines have a protagonist. Some but not all have 'black and white moral dilemma as part of their formula. The placement of each plot point on the individual page spreads is consistent. Protagonist is in the same location on each page spread. I don't remember exactly what point this is but the location of the plot points is explained in the brown text that is the border around the insert pages. They are referred to as the x and y coordinates, in +positive and -minus. So it might say something like X+3, Y-7 = love interest. On any of the individual page spreads in the X+text
block that is where love interest would fall, starting from the middle of the page as the center of the grid.
"The text on the inside of the envelopes is from dictionaries, and random stream of consciousness references to the individual 'plots' that were floating in my brain from too much reading over the years."
Click image to enlarge