The Book of Latent Promises

The Book of Latent Promises is a collective project that explores forms of documentary and social dissent. The project is centered on sustainable printing where the content is created by transferring the surfaces from the rubble of the Haitian earthquake of 2010 onto handmade paper made from recycled paper found in the city.

“The Book of Latent Promises” starts by exploring forms of doing artisanal manufacture of paper in Port au Prince, using recycled material and garbage from the streets. In that context we will integrate various existing projects of recycling garbage, such as the one run by the PPA foundation w‬here garbage is selected and used to manufacture paper charcoal as a sustainable form of energy.

The second aspect is the manufacturing of ink from available materials in Haiti. For this aspect we researched alternative and traditional forms of making ink, exploring natural products and traditional historical recipes. For the project we used natural ingredients for the fabrication, such as charcoal ash, and we combined these with voodoo powders.

Tools were fabricated by artists in Port au Prince using found and recycled metal and materials. In order to make it portable and accessible, a mobile cart was designed following visible forms of transportation existing in Port au Prince. The cart was created as a modular unit that can serve as a platform for exhibition, workshops, and engagement.

The conceptual aspect of the project is to explore the idea of false promises with in communities and the city, looking at the debris of the earthquake as a mimetic signifier of the structural debacle of the post-earthquake promises made to the country. The project consists of inking the debris, objects, marking onto the locally manufactured paper, and transferring the fragmented structures and surfaces as witnesses of the event and creating a visible and transitory map. The project creates a book as a travelling manifesto of a multidimensional map of some of the fragments left as a consequence of the earthquake, as loose forms never reconstructed.

The book creation has the goal of creating a sustainable project that could be repeated by any community that wishes to do so. For that reason it is important to work exclusively with locally available materials in a cost effective way. “The Book of Latent Promises” and the mobile printing cart and all the knowledge, supplies, and tools were left in the hands of a group of female artists that are using the mobile printing cart as an urban platform and tool for dissemination of their ideas.

This project was a collaboration with various artist from Port Au Prince and Caribbean in Transit Journal.

Floating Lab Collective
Artists in Port Au Prince ( in alphabetical order):
Syndia Belongee
Ronald Edmond Hugens
Fequiere Jean Fredrick (AKA Waba)
Gurley Laurent
Rancine Polycarpe
Biterly Thermidore
Davidson Thermidore
Stevens Williams

George Mason University:
Elsabe Dixon
Jorge Porrata

Caribbean in Transit Journal:
Marielle Barrow
Moira Williams