Together, As Always is an archive and exploration of handwritten inscriptions found inside second-hand books. It is easily browsable, searchable and is updated frequently. This project explores the internet as both an inherent archive and a new way of presenting art to the public by way of social network. The inscriptions are grouped by tag to find trends in theme and occasion. As trends emerge, viewers are able to browse by tag, which include holidays, names and dates.
The books in this collection have been obtained from thrift stores from various regions of the US state of Texas. They range in genre and publication date, which provides a good sample to explore. As the collection grows, certain themes seem to crop up more than others. For example, Christmas seems to be the most popular occasion for book-giving, while the 1990s are the most represented decade for dated inscriptions. These patterns represent not all inscriptions as a whole, but those that found themselves in thrift stores, and inferences can be made as to how they got there. Many were obviously part of an estate of the deceased; some were addressed to children who would now be adults, suggesting a purging of childhood keepsakes. It’s also obvious from the briefest inscriptions that the gift-giver and recipient were not close, and as such the books were not considered sentimentally valuable.
An interesting fact of these inscriptions is that no attempt was made to remove or cover this sometimes very personal note. As such, I also have not made any attempt at censorship of names, dates or addresses. The fact that these intimate details remain is part of what makes these inscriptions so endearing. It is what also makes these people and events permanent, and serves as a reminder that they are real, and these objects once belonged to them.
This database was built using BS Theme for Tumblr, which can be downloaded at http://www.tumblr.com/theme/31368.
The tag cloud code was written by Heather Rivers and can be found at http://rive.rs/projects/tumblr-tag-clouds.