Macondo is the very first part of the series Guides to Elsewhere: it was created two years ago for my boyfriend, who had left for a two-month trip to Brazil. Before his trip, I had lent him my brother’s old Lonely Planet: he then bought an updated version of it and left the old one at home. That object became a symbol of his absence, and altering it, to create a present for when he came back, was my way of feeling closer to him. I was reading One Hundred Years of Solitude and I was fascinated by one of the descriptions of the village at the beginning of the novel: hidden in the forest, Macondo could easily be found by following the song of hundreds of birds kept in cages by José Arcadio Buendía. I started creating my own Macondo by placing birds and animals within the pages of the Lonely Planet. This is how it all started. The images were taken from a reproduction of Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities and their placement on the page was carefully planned before printing: each illustration had to occupy a specific position inside the book without hiding the images below.
The technique used to create this book consisted in removing the pages with a clear cut very close to the spine, to digitally print the image on them and then to glue them back into the book on their inner edge. Once the pages had been glued back, I started cutting out each illustration, and the blank pages underneath it, until the next printed image. The result is a concert of colourful animals singing from the pages of the book: their song was powerful enough to help my travelling boyfriend find his way back to my Macondo.