My older sister would, in a three-dimensional Superman comic sort of typeface, loudly proclaim her ownership by writing her name over and over on her things. Mum became particularly aggrieved when her graffiti branding colonised her school textbooks, obliterating title and author. I remember Steff’s response to Mum’s protests: ‘It’s only writing, that’s what books are’.
Perhaps it’s the overlaying and assertion of independent thought on the existing that allows us to make our own structures and find our own meanings. It is how we shuffle language and symbol to form blocks of pattern, how we stack shades of opinion, one on another, how we lay facts and fictions side by side, how we order, rank and classify the views of others that allows us to find space – a little void to calibrate our own experience, a place to put our own thoughts.
Photography: Peter Whyte