How to Peer Through a Wormhole

55 3Arts supporters
$13,130 raised of $6,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on August 06, 2023
    • 219% contributed

For several years I have been developing a series of artworks inspired by a remarkable collection of rare books at the Burgoa Library in Oaxaca, Mexico. What makes this collection surprising is that these books, over time, were marked by intricate paths and tunnels left behind by ancient insect and worm incursions. Instead of seeing the books as damaged, I see them as compelling traces of the inevitable transformations that affect all matter over time. In 2025, I have been invited by the Burgoa Library and the Centro Cultural San Pablo to exhibit new work inspired by these worm-holed books, resulting in one of the largest and most significant projects of my career to date.

About This Project

I first encountered these rare texts and their accompanying wormholes in 2014 when I was invited to Oaxaca to present an artist’s book exhibit. I was immediately riveted by the surprising beauty of these books. There is something very singular and contemplative about these books and the traces that insect larvae left within them. Rather than seeing the worms as destructive, I have come to see the holes as evidence of their life-force, which is essentially creative. It is life-force itself that leads all beings to thrive. For the insects, these books became the places where the thriving occurred, and their annotations are the evidence of this. In a startling way, these books have been rendered as newly and imaginatively legible by these tiny insects.

With the support of the Burgoa’s librarians, I began to photograph pages from the books in 2019. The wormholes vary from species to species, resulting in an astonishing variety of marks and shapes of the “tunnels.” Working with writer and scholar Carla Nappi, we photographed hundreds of pages from these pre-modern books. During this period, the librarians came to see the books as a part of the library’s history and as unique specimens in the collection. Their encouragement and supportive access have become a beautiful partnership. Through this partnership, I’ll be able to develop this series further and envision what new artworks the books may inspire.

Today I have been given an incredible opportunity to produce two concurrent exhibitions of new work —they will take place in 2025. Beginning this fall, I will have a sabbatical from my teaching position at the University of Illinois Chicago, allowing me to dedicate time for travel, production, and planning. I am fortunate to have generous support from the two exhibiting venues as well as the Fundación Alfredo Harp Helú Oaxaca and the Canada Council for the Arts. Much of that funding is committed to supporting curation, materials, installation, printing, and production of a simple catalogue. However, other costs remain uncovered, including significant travel expenses, translation services and writer’s fees for the catalogue, as well as a collaboration with local weavers—this will add an exciting dimension to this multi-faceted project.

With so many years devoted to exploring this material, I am deeply honored for the opportunity to fully realize and share the vision of this work. I invite you to join me on this journey, which your partnership and support, at any level, will make possible.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $20
    A handwritten postcard as mail art ($20.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $75
    A handwritten postcard as mail art, and a suite of six items of collectible ephemera (postcards) of past Dianna Frid exhibitions and projects ($65.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $150
    As above, with six additional items of collectible ephemera (total of twelve pieces) ($140.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    All of the above plus, a one-of-a-kind, handmade, mixed media 4 x 6 inch collage made just for you ($225.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $350
    A printed copy of a facsimile of artist’s book “Estructura del Texto” with a hand-made one-of-a-kind insert made just for you, plus six items of collectible ephemera ($300.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Exclusive invitations to two virtual tours: artist’s studio in Oaxaca and a visit to of the Burgoa Library where the books are housed, plus one handmade, mixed media 8 x 10 inch collage made just for you ($425.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    The virtual tours described above, plus a limited edition photograph made for the Burgoa 2025 exhibit and a signed catalogue, which includes your name listed among supporters ($850.00 is tax deductible.)

Dianna Frid

Chandler Family Awardee

Dianna Frid was born in Mexico City. As a teenager, Frid immigrated with her parents and siblings to Vancouver, Canada. Based in Chicago since 2000, Frid has exhibited her work in the USA, Mexico, Canada, and abroad. Her work is …

View Dianna Frid's profile
  • Update 1: Thank you!
    Posted on June 29, 2023


    Dear supporters, THANK YOU. Last night, I reached my initial goal of $6,000. Upon meeting that goal, 3Arts has generously made a matching donation of $2,000. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has contributed!

    Today, the Swell Foundation has generously offered a new matching contribution:

    For every dollar donated from June 30 onwards, the Swell Foundation will match dollar for dollar up to $2,000 through July 20.  




    Update 2: Sieve (I thank you)
    Posted on July 31, 2023


    Incipit Vita Nova = A New Life Begins

    Every ... day

    Dear Supporter(s) - 

    Thank you. This fundraiser has exceeded its goal because of your largesse. It closes in six days. It may take me a few weeks to put together the "thank-you" rewards. Please send me your address—if you did not include it—as you wish.

    And now: this is the cusp—
       geographical re-location (temporary, as always-already)
       re-configure-callibration (a spell)
       time to listen , then , listen more

    What lets the light in?  
    You are the sieve.


    As ever, ever, 




    Update 3: Portals with wings
    Posted on August 29, 2023
     A photographs of a photograph of an angel, which in the photograph of the photograph is doubled by a mirror

    Dianna Frid  

    An digitized analog photograph of another analog photograph of a page in the book "Historia Natural" by the Count de Buffon. This copy of the wormholed book is in the Collection of the Biblioteca Francisco de Burgoa, Oaxaca, Mexico.

    Dear Contributors to How to Peer Through a Wormhole,

    I'm heading, I'm flying to... Oaxaca this week.

    Be well, have a happy harvest—and gratitude, 


    Update 4: Happy New Year Dear Supporters
    Posted on January 01, 2024


    Dear Supporters, 

    I send you a greeting from San Felipe del Agua, Oaxaca. This garden has been my temporary home in Oaxaca. This has been a rich period of thought, transformative exploration, and process. Those three elements are crucial to the growth and soul of art making—in my case, this is true. Formidably so. 

    I am grateful for your magnanimous support, and, in that spirit, I write to wish you a healthy, prosperous and soulful 2024.

    Stand by for what is emerging. The shows are scheduled for late May to late July 2025. 

    Let's toast to slowness, 


    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Hannah Higgins

    • Jennifer reeder

    • Sofia Biller

    • Laura-Caroline de Lara

    • Deborah Stratman

    • Suzanne Rosenfeld

    • Holly and Zach Cahill

    • Julia Fischbach

    • Esther Frid

    • Kendra Paitz

    • Tom Ginsburg

    • Jen Bervin

    • Julia Fish

    • Silvia Malagrino

    • Selma Lotenberg

    • Melissa Pokorny

    • Lori Bartman

    • Patricia Gomberoff

    • Gail Lotenberg

    • Laurie Litowitz

    • Jacqueline von Rumel

    • Kristi Bain

    • Karen Reimer

    • Bud Shark

    • Fritz Horstman

    • Tempestt Hazel

    • Cathy Hsiao

    • Anne Wilson

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford

    • Edra Soto Fernandez

    • susan kemeny

    • Sean Gregory

    • claire pentecost

    • Nina Dubin

    • laura Ellsworth

    • Sara Black

    • Leonardo Frid

    • Petra Bachmaier

    • Bernardo Fuchs

    • Jaclyn Mednicov

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Deb Sokolow

    • Allison Grant Williams

    • Leonardo Frid

    • Iris Bernblum

    • Maryam Taghavi

    • Thea Goodman

    • Ionit Behar

    • Jenni Lamb

    • Maria Gaspar


    • Stephanie Smith

    • douglas stapleton

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council