Shape Becomes Story: Collected Pages for In-betweens is a companion to the research and artwork created by Carmen Ribaudo as the 2021-2022 Creative Fellow at the Providence Public Library (PPL). This digital reading room presents a variety of works from PPL's Special Collections as well as the zine library at Queer.Archive.Work (QAW) that have figured in Carmen's artistic process while working on her project for PPL's Spring 2022 exhibition "Tomboy."
This reading room provides a glimpse into a broader universe of art and writing spanning time and place that houses Carmen's work. Our goal for this project was to place older materials contained within PPL's archive in conversation with work by contemporary queer artists and zinemakers. In curating and designing this reading room, we focused on building a thematic throughline of wonder—for the world, the self, and the body. We invite you to reflect on your own stories and build your own throughlines as you peruse this space.
Shape Becomes Story was developed collaboratively by Carmen Ribaudo and Kate Hao, with crucial support from Angela DiVeglia, Janaya Kizzie, and Christina Bevilacqua. Please see the credits section at the end of this page for a full list of the works displayed here. If you like what you see, all these materials and more are available to view in-person, either through visiting PPL's Special Collections or at QAW's Open Library Hours!
Thank you for stopping by!
For functionality, this site is ideally viewed on a larger screen. Images with small text can be opened in full size. Image descriptions & transcriptions are linked adjacent to the scans. Hovering/tapping on over certain images may lead to different views — and there are hyperlinks embedded throughout the text & page scans that will take you to different sections of the room as well. In other words, there's more than one path you can take while exploring this space!
i walk this rod / of a body / attracting lightning / at every turn
from Heads, Bodies & Legs
by Denis Wirth-Miller and Richard Chopping (1946)
Inspired by, and dedicated to, artist, educator, and social justice advocate Corita Kent, Slow Looking: These Views Are Our Tools is an invitation to practice a different way of seeing our world. In this artist book, Lukaza Branfman-Verrisimo offers us prompts, coloring pages, and 2 dicut viewfinders, as tools for slowness.
"We can start with random shapes that don't mean anything, and just through the act of touching them ... you can make stories."
It is incontestable that these strange phenomena are not entirely contrary to physical principals, and that philosophers and sages might be more or less favoured by the hidden lights of nature. Nothing prevents our supposing that nervous impressionable individuals, as the interpreters of dreams and visions generally are, may be such good conductors of electricity as to occasion these spontaneous discharges of electric fluid.
—Thunder and Lightning
Yes, there is no doubt of it; history attests the fact; the earliest nations thought that the stars were animated, living bodies. In their eyes the heavenly bodies were superior beings, good or bad deities, friends or enemies, and ever ready to engage in conflicts of which the issue might be favorable or injurious to mortals.
—Meteors, Aerolites, Storms, and Atmospheric Phenomena
The Aurora, or Dawn, itself was one of these divinities, and the most charming of them. Always beautiful with freshness and youth, she was ever saluted and hailed with gratitude, because she it was who came the first to announce the defeat of the powers of darkness and evil, and each morning, like a tender and faithful messenger, awoke the sons of men.
from the Q.A.W. zine library:
living btwn the lines by Andriniki Mattis. New York: Belladonna*, 2019.
Please Take (Prompts) by Olive B. Godlee. 2019.
Slow Looking by Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo. South Portland, ME: Childish Books, 2021.
Elastic Capacity by K. Laster. Oakland, CA: National Monument Press, 2021.
ROT #8 by Arthur Katrina.
ROT #9 by Arthur Katrina.
from PPL Special Collections:
Thunder and lightning by W. de Fonvielle. Translated from the French, and edited by T. L. Phipson. New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co., 1875.
Meteors, aerolites, storms, and atmospheric phenomena. Translated from the French of Zurcher and Margolle. by William Lackland. New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co., 1876.
Wonders of the moon. Translated from the French of Amedee Guillemin by Miss M.G. Mead. Edited, with additions, by Maria Mitchell. New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co., 1873.
Heads, Bodies & Legs by Denis Wirth-Miller and Richard Chopping. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1946, reprinted 1955.