For a period of seven years [from 2008 – 2015] I have travelled the southeastern part of the U.S extensively. All the while I submerged myself in the Southern Gothic, the local literary movement, derived from 19th century English Romantic Gothic literature. Under the influence of religious fervor, the lush and sultry natural environment and the social affairs of the time this narrative changed in focus from the metaphysical to the particulars of the human condition. As opposed to the original Gothic novel it found evil not in the supernatural, but in the mundane, in everyday life.

In seven years and seven chapters it seems that I have followed a somewhat similar course as the Southern Gothic narrative did from its origins: I chronologically follow my travels, my research and my thinking, ever deeper into a region defined by poverty, religion and racism. I started with the dark, sublime wilderness (The Beginning, 2008; Nature, 2009) and through the politics of fear, nostalgia and religion (Violence, 2010; Mortality, 2011; Religion, 2012) I finally arrived at humankind (The Human Condition, 2013; The End, 2014).

This publication is part of a larger work in progress; it’s the provisional outcome of a project that has taken quite a while to find its final destination. I tend to do that – I read, research and photograph a subject so extensively that it becomes a challenge to distinguish its essentials. Like Kudzu, an invasive vine that covers large parts of the southern states and kills everything in its path, I get entangled in an information overload. So, in addition to over a hundred photographs, both in color and black and white, written observations by me, and a rather long short story by musician Jim White about Glossolalia, I have accumulated quite a large collection of artifacts. Next to 19th century mourning covers, old photo postcards and press pictures depicting Martin Luther King, the KKK and religious subjects I have found beautiful mourning garments, (parts of) dead animals, and mammy dolls. I have racist and Confederate stuff. I even own a vinyl record of the evangelist Jimmy Swaggart.

The book project Due to Lack of Interest Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled deals with the universal fear of dying and with our desire to understand and bridge the gap between ourselves and the unknown. We try to fill this potentially dangerous conceptual void with — amongst several other things — storytelling, science, art and religion. I use some of these to try to comprehend, and make visible, something fictional and immaterial. To me it all makes sense, in an irrational way. But after all the Deep South is not a rational place…

Book design: Michaël Snitker
Fonts: Gothic 720 BT, Larish Neue
Paper: Stardream Peridot, Muncken Lynx Rough, Curious Metalics Nude, Muskat
Lithography: Sebastiaan Hanekroot, Colour & Books
Print: Wilco Art Books
Binding: Binderij Hexspoor
Publishing house: Lecturis

Awarded Best Book Design 2016

This project and book have been made possible with generous financial support by the Mondriaan Fund.