To: WAKE From: is a collaborative project by Matt Austin and Trevor McNaughton. On October 27, 2012, Matt Austin held a dinner at The Perch in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. 10 copies of his publication WAKE were distributed to ten people of varying relationships to Matt (his brother, his first philosophy professor, his boss, college mentors, etc.), few of which knew each other. Each recipient accepted the responsibility to read the book, sign the included ledger, and log their reading location into this website; they then are expected to pass the publication on to the next person that they think should read it as that person accepts the same responsibilities.
This website displays the origin of the books and the journey that each book has taken up to this point, noting each connection from one chosen reader to another.
WAKE is a photographic and literary narrative that presents the account of several tragic moments regarding Matt's family over the past 4 years. The story begins with e-mails between him and his dad, exchanged over the days that followed a violent eviction from his dad's apartment and Matt's simultaneous arrival in Ireland to study abroad. In the following chapters, WAKE gives an account of three family deaths over a short few months, drawing comparisons between economic failure and physical mortality. While providing one of many stories of a family's experience with economic devastation, the book poses an optimistic perspective of learned appreciation through difficulty.
The publication exists as a handmade clamshell box comprising four hard-cover books that divide the story into four chapters: Twenty-Two, Autumn Mums, White Blankets, and "Somewhere." Each publication comes with an attached booklet that holds a letter from Matt to the recipient, instructions on how to participate, and a ledger for each reader to sign and date.
This project was partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.