Josh Hockensmith – Dr. Mr. Miracles’s Vocabulary Guide for the Perplexed Miraclist


© 2014
edition of 100
dimensions in inches: 4 x 6 x .25


About this piece:

Doctor Mister Miracles’s Vocabulary Guide for the Perplexed Miraclist is a book-long riff on a line from the Tao Te Ching: “Names can name no lasting name.” As a sometime Taoist and an all-the-time verbalist, I can’t stop thinking about that line.

The book’s subtitle is A Glossary of Seventeen Terms Compiled to Vivify Your Miracle Practice. At first it seems straightforward. Real-world sacred terms (“caritas,” “paramita”) mingle with new words to describe ideas that might benefit the world (“humilitocracy”). But as the book goes on, the system breaks down – the terms become more questionable, words are burned away from the page, and disturbing images start to invade.

What looks like a stack of smudged index cards rubber-banded together is actually a book of digital collages, inkjet printed and hand-bound, its sacred aspirations muddied by the inability of words to name a lasting name.


paper, thread, digital ink

About the artist:

Josh Hockensmith is a book artist and writer living in Pittsboro, North Carolina. He stumbled on artists’ books through poetry and an interest in hand bookbinding. He is interested in the full spectrum of work being created in book form; in the convergence of digital technology and the physical book; and in the history of the book as the complicit vehicle for humanity’s strangest, most wonderful, most powerful creations through the ages.

About Alicia Bailey