Experimenting with editing text

For this unit I want to change the meaning of children’s stories by changing and taking out parts of the text to manipulate the stories in telling the stories I want express. As inspiration for this I looked at artists who use previously made publications to express they’re own messages and looked at the ways in which they altered the original books in order do this. I looked at Alec Soth and his publication, Broken Manual. I liked the way he used an old book to literally inhabit his whole photo book, completely changing the original version but still making it relevant to his work by making it a shell to his work. This works for broken manual, and it inspired me but I want more the original text in my own work. Artists that do this were the likes of Broomberg and Chagrin in their, Holy Bible and War Primer 2, and Christian Patterson with his, Fond Du Lac. All of these publications truly capture what the original book was about and although the alter the meaning through their images, you can still follow the original text and it still plays a huge part in the narrative of the book. However the artist who’s work inspired me the most was the work of Cristina DeMiddel in her book, Party. Not only did she add her images to completely change the narrative, she physically altered the text corrective fluid. This inspired me the most out of all the publications I looked at because she physically ‘corrected’ the words to make them relevant to her work and this is what I want to do. Very little of the original text was left, but you could still follow the original meaning of the book through and her interpretation of it through the images and the words that were left. Cristina DeMiddels work was the most prominent in my mind and it is more closely linked to what I want to do. ‘Party’ is my biggest inspiration on how I want to change my text.

I started experimenting with removing text using correctional fluid, in the style of Cristina DeMiddel. I did this in my ‘Key Words’, or ‘Peter and Jane’ books. Following my theme of gender stereotypes I looked for words and phrases that demonstrated this topic, through my research I discovered that these books are known for their old fashioned stereotyping so I thought they were the perfect books to experiment with.

To start my search for key words I used post-it notes to cover the other text and highlight the word I wanted to use as I looked through the books. This made it clear what words I wanted to use whilst making it easy to change them if I changed my mind. I then finalised my choices by using correctional fluid to remove the other words permenantly.

‘Daddy, “Are you going to play with us?”‘

On this page I chose to leave the words, ‘Daddy, “are you going to play with us”. I left these words because I felt that they were demonstrative of the way the father figure is often viewed. The father is often portrayed as a serious, professional role, a domineering character who applys the ‘don’t speak unless spoken to’ rule. With this in mind I chose these words because its like the children have to ask for his time, I also chose to leave the fathers response out too, because I feel that everyone will then interpret these words in an individual way depending on their relationship with the male figures in their life.

‘”Come on,” he says. “Yes”, says Mummy’

The only words left on this page are ‘”Come on,” he says. “Yes”, says Mummy’. These words stood out to me because it demonstrates to dominant and submissive stereotypes the I read about in my gender research. These words show a strong male character who is in charge and is exhorting his dominance over the mother, who replies with a  simple “yes”.  The one word answer further expresses to two different roles and demonstrates the quiet submissive nature of the stereotypical woman.

‘Jane and Peter help Mummy’. Daddy wants to sit but the tree.’

These phrases ‘Jane and Peter help Mummy’. and Daddy wants to sit but the tree’ are demonstrative of the difference in parenting roles at home. The mother has the role of raising the children and therefore they are helping her, the father on the other hand is less important in the role of raising the children but too important in the family hierarchy to help the mother.

‘”I like to go where there are trees and flowers.” Says Jane. “I like to go by the farm'” Says Peter.’

‘”I like to go where there are trees and flowers.” Says Jane. “I like to go by the farm'” Says Peter’, this shows the way that gender stereotypes affect children and are taught to us from a young age. As a girl, Jane likes nature and flowers, and as a boy, peter likes the farm where he can get dirty and see the strong animals. Not only does this establish gender stereotypes amongst children, but these books are made to teach children so it just reinforces the gender rules even more to the children reading them.


I chose to leave the words ‘DANGER, MEN AT WORK’ on this page because it reinforces that not only are men the breadwinners within families, they are also strong and tough and this is backed by the use of the capital letters. The word ‘danger’ also creates a sense of fear within children and therefore reinforces that men are strong and tough because their work in ‘dangerous’.

‘The man works, and he likes to talk about it.’

‘The man works, and likes to talk about it’, once again establishes that it is men that work. Throughout the book, there is no mention of a woman working or having any kind of job. This is not what we should be teaching children and this is why I have left these words on the page. I also think the extra, ‘and he likes to talk about it,’ adds a sense of boasting and the male ego. The tough exterior of men that are the financial income of their family, it also implies that this is the most important role for him, more so than being a caring figure for the family, work gives him a purpose and gives him gratification.

‘Mummy gets her bag’

I liked the way that I could single out individual words and sentences using the correctional fluid, but it was very hard to keep neat and aesthetically pleasing. I then purchased a correctional roller in the hope that this would be easier to use and control. I much prefer the neat and tidy look this gives the page and it is just as effective at covering the text. Looking at more of a narrative, this page just says ‘mummy gets her bag’, this is part of the story I have created within the book.












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