This major work, created over the period 1994 to 2005, explores the experience of bipolar mood disorder, a condition that affected the author, Simon Miles, throughout his adult life. The visual dimension was a creative response to the problem that the author faced in describing the highs and lows of bipolar using words alone. It began with careful attention to the layout of text on the page using his Amstrad dot matrix printer as he was writing the novel. This was a technique that Simon developed very imaginatively to produce some striking concrete poetry effects, some of which form Part 8 of The Identity Parade.
Building on these experiments with the Amstrad Simon turned to collage as a way of dramatically enhancing the presentation of the story to help express the drama he was trying to capture. Simon explains this in his own words. Working from the novel’s printed pages (which no longer exist) key sentences and phrases were selected, cut out or torn from the page and reassembled as part of a collage. Each page takes a text from the main body of the work and interprets it visually.
Simon planned on completing 365 pages of The Identity Parade, one for each day of the year. His method of creation was to take the text and paper he came across in the course of a day and create a collage that made a page of the book. Every scrap had meaning; every text has subtext. It was both a creative process and a creative end.
In The Identity Parade, Simon Paternoster lives out a range of experiences in altered states of consciousness. Each page in the story is quite unique, comprising text, images, pattern, and colour. The visual element brings added impact and cleverly conveys the story’s complexity.