"Tensile: A sublime love story" weaves together a 19th century poem of seduction by Percy Bysshe Shelley, with current research on bisphenol contamination in our environment, food, water and bodies gathered by biologist Alyce DeMarais. Used to manufacture plastics and resins for food and drink packaging, bisphenol A (BPA) impacts the endocrine system, impairing development and reproductive health of animals and humans. BPA analogues, including BPE and BPS, are similar reproductive toxicants with transgenerational effects. 19th century writers didn’t know synthetic plastic would emerge in 1907 to change the world. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, published in 1818, foreshadows the cost and complexity of scientific progress and defying the natural order. In the midst of industrialization, Romantic era poets bore the responsibility of reinvigorating a spiritual connection to nature by portraying the Sublime. Both poet and scientist note the world is full of interconnectedness. Percy Shelley celebrates the mingling of rivers and oceans while scientists conclude that exposure to bisphenol contamination is ubiquitous. "Tensile" explores the irony of our sublime love affair with plastic, a monster of our own creation.
This 6 x 8 inch artist book expands to 60 inches and is letterpress printed from single-use plastics and handset type by Jessica Spring. Leperello binding with plastic covers by Jessica Spring and Gabby Cooksey in an edition of 35 copies.