Albert Camus was a French writer and philosopher. His most significant contribution to philosophy was his idea of the absurd, resulting from our desire for clarity and meaning within a world that offers neither.
He explains his idea of the absurd in “The Myth of Sisyphus.” The title of the book comes from a story in Greek mythology and uses the myth as a metaphor to discuss and question the idea of suicide and the value of life.
Sisyphus was a character in Greek mythology described as one of the cleverest yet most devious men in history. Because of his cruel ways, he was condemned by the gods (the judges of the dead) to perpetually push and roll a huge rock up a mountain, only to watch it plunge to the bottom again.
Camus presents Sisyphus’s ceaseless and pointless task as a metaphor for modern lives spent working at futile jobs. “The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.”
After reading the book and highlighting certain sentences or words – either for their intense and important meaning or their poetic/lyric qualities – I wanted to create a piece that visually explains and expresses both the importance of the book and the Greek myth itself.
For this purpose, I chose letterpress as the medium (due to the frustration it carries), and the highlighted text was used as the content for the book. The final piece (completed by June 2007) consists of three volumes that together attempt to represent the reader’s journey when reading and metaphorically refer to the Myth and our journey as human beings.