Skip to main content


Philip Zimmermann (2003-2004)

HUBRIS  Philip Zimmermann (2003-4)

Hubris was created during my artists' residency at The Border Art Residency in La Union, New Mexico. While I was there the invasion of Iraq had just started and I wanted to make a response to George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condeleeza Rice and the others. I had always heard the story of how a slave in Roman times, during triumphal marches after a great military victory, was told to repeat a line in the victorious general's ear 'memento mori', a reminder that as a mortal he would die too. The speech that Bush gave after flying a jet onto a battleship in the Arabian Gulf, with the sign saying MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, was an indication of great hubris and of a seriously swollen head. And as often happens with great hubris, there is the fall. Soon afterwards, everything went to hell in Iraq.

The structure is a variation on a book form that was devised by Hedi Kyle and has taken a number of different iterations. There is no adhesive in the book and the pages are held together by the use of triangular folds of paper. The spine consists of a variant on an accordion pleat. Every other page opens wide, and the alternate pages only open partially. The pages can easily come out if one lifts the triangular flaps. The narrative text tells the story of memento mori. Mexican Loteria cards float above a field of New Mexican puffy white clouds. In the alternate pages, a fire starts in a diamond-shaped space and as the book progresses the fire turns to white ashes.

This book was printed by inkjet and had a limited edition of twelve copies.

THIS BOOK IS OUT OF PRINT                                                                   

In dev