Ola Bjelica & Brianna Tosswill
This poetry is for anyone needing to feel a little less lonely in their solitude.
In collaboration with debut author Ola Bjelica, I have created a poetry experience that has no official beginning or end and no designated duration. You, the reader/viewer have a lot of agency and (no pressure) some responsibility when it comes to reading The Solitudes.
Each of the three flexagons displays four configurations, with their own illustrated compositions and poems. By opening the gap in the middle of each page you access the next, and so forth until you come around to the configuration you started on. At which point, feel free to keep flipping. Once round doesn't quite satisfy.
Any untitled poems are numbered for reference, but you shouldn't feel constrained to a reading order. Another name for this type of structure is an "infinity book".
Some musings from Ola:
We have personified our emotions and states of mind over time in different ways, and I suspect that we have done so out of a need to understand them in a way that feels more familiar. By giving a feeling and/or a state of mind a human body and a will, we accomplish a number of things: one, we perceive feelings, or emotions, as kindred and therefore less outlandish and unpredictable as they may initially seem; two, we create some distance between the emotion and ourselves, especially if and when the emotion is unwanted like Jealousy or Shame; and three, if Love has a mind and legs, it comes and goes on its own volition, does it not?
As for the idea of a living, breathing Solitude… Well, as a single person living alone during a pandemic, I found it hard to escape my emotions. With each passing day I had fewer tangible distractions and eventually I reached a point where I had to face the music. It was simply easier for me to understand and engage with my subconscious in this way. The more I got to know her — Solitude — the easier it was for me to understand solitude as independent of myself and recognize it in others. Funny, that…
The Solitudes physically are:
- 3 folded flexagons, each 5 x 5"
- within these structures are a total of 12 linocut reduction prints, and 14 poems set in and printed from lead type.
- printed on acid free French Paper Speckletone cover stock.