Nothing Beside Remains is an exploration of the physical presences of things now absent. I printed this book with ink on my fingers rather than on the type, thereby creating a record of my handling of the paper as it went through the press. In more theoretical terms, the physical substrate of the signifier has been shifted from the symbolic to the indexical. I printed it on a cylinder press; the act of holding the paper against the impression cylinder created long vertical ink trails. Each page contains a blind impression of decades old standing type: indexes, train schedules, chess matches, pages on vision science, an obituary, etc. A numbering machine recorded the order in which each sheet went through the press. Ink set-off causes strange fingerprint shaped areas to print. In one copy President Kennedy’s face materializes next to a trail of ink.
For each signature, I wrote one paragraph on a physical reminder of loss. There are paragraphs both personal and imaginary: a mother with dementia, a photograph of an ancestor, the Capuchin crypt in Rome, the distant future of the Holocaust museum. I end the book with a Latin epitaph for myself.
The printed out carbon paper of the colophon allows the reader to leave their own traces through their handling of the book.