Erica Baum, Nine Images from “Dog Ear”, (2011)
A dog-eared page — a folded corner — is the simplest memory system: it marks a stopping point, a favorite passage, a place to remember. Along with marginalia, underlining, and other notational strategies, dog ears map a history of reading and remind us that reading is a physical act: an encounter with words, to be sure, but also a tactile experience with paper and individual pages of a book. A dog ear is legible as a readerly engagement with the material text. Someone read this; someone stopped here.
Erica Baum’s book Dog Ear (Ugly Duckling Press, 2011) makes this point and takes it further. In Baum’s rendering, the dog ear presents an activist readerly engagement: by folding a page, the reader creates a new site of meaning, a square of text to be encountered not as placeholder but as a rich cluster of words, selected (appropriated, deformed) by the reader’s hand.