Veterans Book Project workshop in Colorado Springs at Colorado College.

This week I’m in Colorado Springs observing one of artist Monica Haller’s  

Veterans Book Project workshops.

Haller was invited to facilitate a workshop at Colorado College by resident artist Harrell Fletcher, who is orchestrating a series of projects throughout the college that focus on the relationship between Colorado College and the local military bases in the city.

Haller is working with four veterans and soldiers: Isaac, Juliet, Joe and Ted. Artist Faith Purvey is assisting and I am gathering information for the article I am writing about the Veterans Book Project and helping out in any way I can.

Isaac and Juliet are two recently discharged soldiers writing about their PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). Joe is a soldier nearing retirement and Ted is a veteran of the Vietnam war who is writing about intergenerational PTSD. Over the course of the ten day workshop these bookmakers generate content and form this into a digital manuscript that is published on-demand on Lulu.com.

Haller’s Veterans Book Project is a relational work that works. Haller has been doing these workshops with vets for a year and is half way to her goal of a fifty volume set of books that will form a library or archive of first-hand experiences of war. It’s a project that is collaborative at the point of production as you can see in these shots and it’s relational at the point of reception, as the library is exhibited in the form of a reading room in museum galleries and libraries.

See the project’s webpage:

http://www.veteransbookproject.com/

Veterans Book Workshop in  the San Jose Biennial during September 2010.

Last September I volunteered to help edit for a Veterans book workshop. It was an amazing experience. I learned so much reading the veterans’ stories and helping them get their rough first drafts into shape for a line editor. The process Monica has developed for making these books quickly really works. She has editors and designers working along side the veterans so that the work can happen in 5-10 days. By the end of the week the manuscripts are usually read to be loaded onto lulu.com to be  made available as on demand soft bound books.

Bookshop workspace San Jose Biennial.

Artist Monica Haller (right) working with Mary Anne Rich (left), one of the bookmakers.

During the “exhibition” period of the Biennial when the public is invite into the workshops and displays, Haller set up a reading room in the workshop space.

readers

About Patricia Briggs
Patricia Briggs is the director of galleries and curator of exhibitions at Jamestown Community College in Western New York. She writes the blog "Scene Unseen: Viewing Notes" about visual art in her community.

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