CRUISING ALTITUDE, Philip Zimmermann (2011)
Cruising Altitude is a dos-á-dos (double-sided) book on one side about wanderlust, travel, and the quest for the exotic. The other side covers the darker angle of travel: of being a stranger or foreigner in another country or culture.
The section titled "Above" explores the desire to travel away from one’s normal and humdrum world, to see and experience the different and the exotic. There are many complex reasons why we want to travel. Part of what drives wanderlust is an impatience with the everyday and the desire to expand one’s horizons, sometimes to destroy one’s comfortable status quo, to escape, to satisfy one’s curiosity about the world. Travel makes one more tolerant, perhaps even promotes peace between cultures and nations.
However "Below" (the other, mirror, section) is about the flip-side of wanderlust. In this book the traveler, displaced person, or foreigner encounters a virulent and often jingoistic resistance from the inhabitants of the new locations that one enters as a visitor. Terms for ‘the other’, usually derogatory or demeaning, appear over photographic views looking down from airplane windows. Although I believe this to be universal, living in Southern Arizona on the border with Mexico I am very aware of this viewpoint in some of the local state population. In addition to the feelings that I have about this subject derived from my current living location, I was the child of an American diplomat. Although I grew up loving the many different places we lived, I never fit in to any of them, nor felt that any one of the places we lived was my home, always feeling like ‘the other’, and that includes the United States itself.
This double book was published by Spaceheater Editions in an edition of fifty. The text-block interiors and end-sheets were printed by HP Indigo. There are gold and silver metallic foil titles on both covers. The book was bound by hand with archival book board and Kensington premium bonded red leather, designed to look and feel a little like the old Baedeker travel guides that were extremely popular in Europe in the late 1880s through the 1930s. The dimensions are 5"x8"x.5". Each book comes in an archival gray phase box.
$325 plus applicable tax and shipping. Available by writing Philip Zimmermann or Vamp & Tramp, Booksellers.