The Greed in “The Rise of American Civilization”

     For this project I let the book control the ideology behind the piece. The book I chose was The Rise of American Civilization which covered the dark, controversial colonization of North America. The original settlers abused the indigenous people and powered by greed continued to conquer from coast to coast. This greed and seeking of land leads to the dollar sign carved into the book. Money is often seen as the epitome of materialism and human greed. It’s apparent in cartoons where characters eyes become dollar signs when they prefer money over all else. I began by printing out an outline for me to carve around and glued it onto the first page. I tried various methods when trying to figure out how to cut the book the most efficiently. After using a saw and doing parts of the dollar sign through the whole book, I decided to cut groups of pages at a time using a box cutter. Although carving was very time consuming it was not the most difficult aspect, rather that as I went deeper in the book the shapes became smaller and more difficult to go through which forced me to stop at around the halfway point. I then used the hot knife to brand the outside the pages to give it a burnt feel. This amplifies the greed aspect and creates correlation between consumption and combustion. If I could do this project differently I would carve the entire book and have it start at both sides so that it isn’t just getting smaller. I really enjoyed this project and it expanded my understanding of bookbinding.


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