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Sand Is The New Oil


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

INTRODUCTION TO ATELIER NL

 

Atelier NL is run by two women Nadine Sterk and Lonny van Ryswyck. They’re Design Academy Eindhoven graduates whose design studio is also based in an old church in Eindhoven. This year they were selected as the official Dutch Design week ambassadors, alongside architect Winy Maas of MVRDV and Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs.

 

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Since 2010, the women have been running their ground based practice of collecting samples of sand from dunes, beaches, rivers, mountains and quarries to melt it into glass. One of the aims of the project To See a World in a Grain of Sand is to “reveal the unique colors and textures of the world and share the origins and stories of both sand and people from all corners of the globe”. This is made possible by the submission contributed by the public in response to the open call for sand samples.

 

The project also draws attention to the massively underestimated resource sand and the fact that the worldwide stocks of white sand are running out. Personally I haven’t really given much thought to this issue before which is why I wanted to look further into it, even though Atelier NL’s work and research that takes a part in the exhibition Change the System in museum Boijmans in Rotterdam seems to be highlighting more of the social aspect as it perhaps makes it more approachable and appealing to a larger audience.

 

In the future local supplies of sand might become an important source for the industry that, unlike the small Dutch design studio, is not yet able to process this natural sand. Besides glass, sand is also vital for many other industries including the manufacturing of computer chips and construction of buildings.

 

SAND – A FINITE RESOURCE

 

To put it simply sand is one of the main ingredients of modern life. Besides water and air, sand is the most used natural resource. We need concrete and asphalt to build cities roads, and sand is used for both of them. Not to forget windows, glasses, plates, cellphone screens and filtration systems in water treatment facilities, septic systems and swimming pools.

 

So cities are basically made out of sand, and since 1950 the number of people living in the cities has grown from 746 million to almost 4 billion making the demand of sand so high that we are now starting to run out of this natural resource.

 

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Both legal and illegal trade have economic and ecological backlash. It is estimated that 70% of the world’s beaches are disappearing due to these practices. Mining sand in rivers, beaches or offshore will inexorably lead to the disappearance of our beaches.

 

In Indonesia around two dozen small islands have vanished since 2005 because of sand mining. The coral reefs in Kenya, hundreds of acres of forest in Vietnam, and the ecosystem of India’s rivers have suffered the damages of sand trade as well. People working in the industry are getting hurt too, and some of the activists and government official confronting the black market sand mining gangs end up killed.

 

Stronger regulations are able to prevent some of the damages. The downside of this is that sand is heavy and expensive to transport which could cause the price go up in many developed countries where the sand mining gets banned for environmental reasons. If the sand needs to be trucked from further away, the price will go up as well. This would eventually hit the economy hard and cause more pollution and extra truck traffic.

 

Despite the effort, the attempts to stop the illegal mining don’t always work. An example of this are the satellite images released in 2012 by an environmental organization called Global Witness that showed how Singapore had expanded its land area by 22% over the past 50 years. The sand used in the process came mostly from surrounding countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, and had in some cases been extracted illegally.

 

These countries then responded by banning sand mining. After the ban in other countries, Singapore’s demand for sand continued fueling the industry in Cambodia, even though the government official claim to even have ban the mining in some cases.

 

In a way sand could be called the new oil. There are not yet good alternatives as the desert sand, shaped more by wind rather than water, and the local supplies of sand are not suitable for the needs of the industry. To find a solution for the shortage of sand won’t be an easy task but in the meantime more focus should be put on how we are using the still remaining resources.

The unimaginable is what keeps me exploring


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

IRIS VAN HERPEN

 

The first time I saw 3D Prints I was doing an internship at a design studio. I was fascinated by the complexity it allows to generate, where your imagination is the only limit to create any shape. I wondered what the future of the way we make things would look like and how would that affect our lives. What kind of products will we produce?

 

I was intrigued by the shapes of the dresses exhibited at “Change the System”, and found out that Iris made an entire collection using mainly umbrellas sticks, and that  she uses a lot of 3D Prints in her collections. She spends a lot of time experimenting and researching new materials before start making, combining craftsmanship with the use of new technologies. She also collaborates with many people from other disciplines and incorporates new inputs, which I think is essential to develop new ways of making.

I question to myself what are the possibilities of fashion and technology.Why can’t we wear machines, organic tissues, sculptures? Materiality is changing as we develop new tools and materials, and so is the way we appreciate what we produce.

FAST FASHION

 

Fast fashion allows people to buy fashionable outfits inspired by the latest trends  and get them for a very low price. Mainstream consumers are now able now to afford new things with a very short life span.

Consumption has clearly a very deep influence in our society, and buying clothes now responds to a wish more than a need: we no longer buy because we really need it, we consume because we wish for it. We are involved in a cycle where trends go faster than ever, and hard to keep up. The quality is not important any more, it’s rather how fast it gets to the shop what matters.

Most focused on what we desire  than what we need, fast fashion takes place as the opposite of creative and original pieces. In a way is about copying what is analysed as trendy, producing it as fast as possible to replace the previous trend.

The process of  obsolescence of the garments are already planned from the beginning: it’s meant to replace the old season and attract new purchases.

This process not only creates a massive amount of waste, but also an overconsumption of low quality products that are made under horrifying work conditions.

SWEATSHOPS

 

Retailers sell products that are being manufactured in undeveloped countries, where the labour cost is very low.

The globalization of the free trade world market enables “race to the bottom” situations. Sweatshops are the best example .Contemporary slavery is the most accurate definition I can imagine for the factories that host the poorest workers of the world.

The catastrophe in bangladesh, 2013 is the most horrible example: an eight floor garment factory building collapses killing massive amounts of peopl. It was the deadliest garment-factory incident in history.The conditions under which they were working were so immensely deplorable that it had to get to this catastrophic point to raise awareness.

It is no longer a secret that the large retailers are producing not only more waste than we have ever seen before, but they are competing for lower production costs in order to set low prices in stores. A large percentage of our waste are textiles that are unfashionable are being thrown away and replaced by new low quality ones each season.

3D PRINT

 

We are starting to become aware about where is what we are consuming coming from. Where, how and by whom was produced is becoming more and more relevant. I strongly believe that is of mayor importance to ask  that question and try to understand the mechanism of the chain production and global economy dynamics. I see an urge to create new, sustainable and better quality products.

 

I think 3D print and other technologies will disrupt the production chain in a positive way.This way the  consumer will be  more involved with the idea and the production process of the piece that what she/he wants to wear.

Changing the way people make their own garments and making accessible and easy to do,  will also change the way they relate to their clothing. There will be more appreciation and another type of value to our possessions. It will also allow us to express our own identity through original and valuable pieces. We won’t look for images to buy, it will come from our imagination and more honest desires.

 

Which materials and tools can we bring into fashion that would change the way we produce and consume? WHat will technology allow us? It is interesting to use it not only as a fashion accessory trendy for a season, but a useful, high quality and long lasting product.

 

James Bridle – The Anicons


Wednesday, November 29, 2017
 
“as an artist and activist, James Bridle 1980 shows the impact of the techno-surveillance society we live in. He has converted data collected with a spy camera for his project The Right to Flight to create a kaleidoscopic animation. As a protest against this ruthless technology, he has made unusable images.” – Change Makers
 
 Skærmbillede 2017-11-29 kl. 17.10.34
 

I have always been really interested in how our community has become an  surveillance-community, the way we store images, knowledge and numbers in our cloud, for instance. How you can find an answer to nearly anything in the “cloud”. How our focus has moved from the physical to the not physical – metaphysical. How Apple would be able to place you at a crime scene if you are owner and user of an iphone with finger and face recognition. The norm is to tolerate that without questioning.

I think James Bridles project is interesting because he’s making those data unusable, data that is highly important in the way we are interfering and meeting each other today. Data which is not physical any more but have a high value in its metaphysical form.

I did a project earlier this year about how we began in some contexts to weigh the aesthetics higher then the function, and in some cases the understanding as well. And I think what James Bridle is doing can be understated in a similar way.

When you see graphical displays of books, posters or clothes etc., you begin to see a rhythm of incomprehensible elements, repeatedly one sees that a particular artist or designer chooses to use aesthetic elements like the Russian, Greek and Arabic alphabet as bearer of language. Some choose to use barcodes or gothic letters, ornaments that are clearly from another time, then the context it is viewed – used in. It is now only a matter of creating an aesthetically beautiful product, the recipient is now 100% uncritical and chooses only on behalf of aesthetics.

If you see Comme des Garcons for instance, they made a collab with russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy. In this colab there were t-shirts, hoodies etc with a text in russian. I see people wearing this without knowing anything about the meaning of the selection of letters, they are only wearing it for the aesthetics and the fact that it’s popular.

 

 

Skærmbillede 2017-12-10 kl. 20.14.07

 

The connection I see between these two is that people of today’s society, the post internet generation, have such easy access to awareness – information, facts, news etc, that we have to some extent, stopped caring about it. We are choosing, consciously or unconsciously, what to be aware of and what we want to care about.

Even though both Bridles footage and Comme des Garcons/Rubchinskiys design with the language/letters is filled with important and valuable information, the finished product in these projects is only an abstract form. Roughly said, we are ignoring the value in this information and only choosing to see the abstract result that gives us aesthetic pleasure.

How deep can we go? – The conflicts about problematic issues


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Deepwater – A work created in collaboration between Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck in 2016. It immediately caught my attention while I was walking through the exhibition of ‘’Change the System’’ in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The work is simple, yet very impressive. It has a strong design in contrast to the other works presented in the same room. Deepwater represents a vase which is a collection of the design ‘’Still Waters’’. Thomas Eyck commissioned Studio Wieki Somers to design a series of objects with the theme “water”. These series are five glass vases and each form a poetic interpretation of the water cycle. The vases represent a topical theme regarding the problematic relationship between humans and nature.

 

LTVs_WiekiSomers_05_Deepwater, Labadie

 

The Deepwater vase is made out of glass filled with oil floating on water. In the centre of this vase a stem with leaves is represented. The oil refers to the disrupted human actions like the results of the ecocatastrophe ‘’Deepwater Horizon’’, this was an industrial disaster that began on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a big explosion of the drilling platform Deepwater Horizon. Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck wanted to show how conflicting the values are that ascribe our recourses.

But who are Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck? During this research I posed myself the question what the relationship is between them and why they want to make on the problematic issues of our world society. I also got so inspired by this specific work on the oil problem, that it motivated me to question and think of ideas on how to solve this problematic issue much further.

Back in 2000, Wieki Somers (Dutch designer, born in Sprang-Capelle, 1976) graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven. After her graduating she settled with Dylan van den Berg, with whom she studied together in Eindhoven. Together they started Studio Wieki Somers in Rotterdam. Wieki Somers and Dylan van den Berg focussing on providing an enlightened reading of the everyday movement. Focussing and making sensivity of materials, technological ingenuity and fantasy. They make objects that you as outstander at first have to guess what it is and what they are doing. That is the whole point of what they want, making an art piece with a functional state in it. ”Basically our work is one big quest, one big process. We look at things around us, what they can be and the associations people have. We study customs everyday situations, unleasing our own imagination on them. We make the uncommon common.’’ thus Wieki Somers

‘’As a designer it’s not my attention to make the world a better place, but I’m pleased if people look at the world differently because of my products.’’

People get ideas and inspirations from the work of Wieki Somers and that’s also how Thomas Eyck got involved. Thomas Eyck is a publisher and collector and he devide characteristic and exclusive design products from this time. He stimulate designers to come up with new objects for the daily life. Together they research for different kinds of materials and making new products out of it. This is how the Deepwater collection was made when Thomas Eyck asked Studio Wieki Somers to work together.

So how can you stimulate more people when you think about this collection? And in my case about the oil problem. Because using oil is something we should take very seriously if we think about our precious world. Our nature is capable of breaking down oil itself, but this is going very slowly. The quantities of oil that enter the environment through human intervention are so great that nature has difficulties with it. Of course the place plays a role, normally it is safely stored under the ground but when it comes into the water or on land it is just a strange substance. Just what happend to the Deep Water Horzion catastrophe. How can we clean up this mess if we constantly spill so much oil?

Thankfully there are many ways to clean the oil out of the water. I found materials and information and tried these out. Click in the video below where I used oil, sponge and cotton balls to clean out the oil:

 

REMOVE IT

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Of course this is not enough for an entire ocean, but it’s clearly that we could discover more with materials just like Wieki Somer and Thomas Eyck are presenting. We have to dig deeper and come up with much bigger ideas to solve the problem. There are machines or boats with different kinds of techniques by getting out the oil out of the ocean, but still there will be leftovers and we discover that years later by accident. Of course we think of other different ways to solve this for the future, for example; using electricity. The using of oil are mostly for machines and vehicles and these will run in the future with electricity.

So yes, just like Wieki Somers I would feel the same way by not making attention to make the world a better place, but to encourage and to let people think about these kinds of topics. I think we discovered already so much about materials, technologies and objects to improve our environment. Who knows what further will be discovered in the future.

 

The book of imaginary beings by Jorge Luis Borges.


Monday, November 27, 2017

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” I would say my design-style is pretty classic.

I try to make my designs inviting and appropriate

to the subject matter, whether fiction or non-fiction. ”

 - Francesca Belanger 

     

For thirteen years ago Francesca Belange designed the cover of  The book of imaginary beings written by Jorges Luis Borges. The only guidelines she got about how the design should be was the length of the book. The author passed away the 14th of June 1986 so communication was impossible, which maybe makes the design work different. Or easier? Because direct opinions do not really exist only the words through the editor. However the book turned out wonderful, with its old but new appearance. And there we have it, that is the reason I choose this book. I loved how it felt when I first held it, when I flipped through the pages and felt the uneven cut of the pages in the book. It reminded me of a really old storybook with a long and rich history. It felt like a book with strong words and that made me curious. I got the urge of wanting to know more about it. And the design, what was the feeling they wanted to accomplish?

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 The uneven pages

Belanger wanted to give the book a dreamy and exotic look. She used the Aldus text font with the Locarno light display to try to achieve it, and I must say that she has. The book look really like a dreamy and of course it is a fantasy novel, but the feeling that this book contains another world strongly appears. It’s interesting to know which font she used, believe it or not but the font says a lot about the book, its feeling, its own language and everything between that.

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The book also has many beautiful illustrations of the imaginary beings. They are fantastic as well as the design, I asked Francesa if she had contact with the illustrator Peter Sis, and she had. She says he was lovely but can not recall exactly what they talked about. It’s visible in the work they did together on the book that they had some kind of connection I would say, I think that is important in all work, whatever there is, that there is some kind of affection between the people. Even if they hate each other or do not speak that much to each other. It just has to be there, even if it is just a few words.
Belanger divided the layout of the book based on the placement of the illustrations, and that the imaginary beings needed to start on a new page to give the book style a flow and organization. But also because sometimes the imaginary beings is on a page itself, some times on the same page as the text and sometimes w
ithout the border that appears on the full page art, all these decisions were made in relation with the space. Belagner says that this must have been something she asked Peter Sis about. She says that she would never alter art without the acceptance of the artist.

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It all comes together to a strong, wonderful book with a strong expression and layout. When I hold the book I get that – I really really want to read this book – feeling. Witch book design are all about.

 

I like to say that a book jacket or cover has to grab a

reader’s attention, and my job is to invite her in”

– Francesca Belanger

 

The book of Imaginary Beings, designer: Francesca Belanger, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 855.6 bor 1

So you like patterns?


Sunday, November 26, 2017

The book I choose to research is called ‘Biogea’ and was written by Michael Serres, and designed by Jason Wagner. Published in 2012 by Univocal Publishing, which Jason Wagner co-created with Drew Burk.
From the design of this book and from other books that Jason Wagner has designed I can see hints of his personality if not that then definitely his direction of interest. The way all the patterns are so precise and clean cut gives me the impression that he has a methodological nature and an obvious love of patterns both simple and complicated, while enjoying a subtle use of colour. As seen in another book designed by Jason Wagner ‘Variations on the Body’, which is also written by Michel Serres.

Variations -Cover

The fact that Jason Wagner is a part of the Univocal means that a critical look at the company can give an insight on the designer and ultimately the design itself.

Univocal Publishing was founded in 2011 as an independent publishing house specializing in small-scale editions and translations of texts spanning the areas of cultural theory, continental philosophy, aesthetics, anthropology and more. Univocal’s books including Biogea combine traditional printmaking techniques with the create evolutions of the digital age and feature letterpress covers designed by Jason Wagner, who demonstrates the technique in a video.

https://youtu.be/qwQSNhor1EQhttp://

Using techniques similar to this the publishing company oversaw the printing and binding of books from 2012 to May 2017, in which it ceased operations and merged with another company. This could seem to fall down to Jason Wagner who is stated to be moving on to pursue other projects.

But why did I choose this book? I decided on this book for a variety of reasons. I enjoyed its’ simple yet complex design containing a neat revolving spiral-like pattern which is placed in the middle of the book and looks pleasing to the eye. The pattern it self drew my gaze as I found it really intriguing as it resonated with my own interest in complex and unique patterns which I like to create.

The plain colours and easygoing layout of the book for me made it feel more approachable. The design it self didn’t take anything away from the content, for sometimes I feel that the cover of a book can sometimes give you false expectations of what it contains. Being misled into buying something based on its looks. This book however balances this nicely I think by not taking anything away from the content but instead relating and highlighting the themes within.

Biogea

The Typography is placed on top of the design and relates to and supports it nicely. Accentuating its colours and giving the book a clean and natural feel. The pattern initially drew my attention to the book, but as I took a closer look I found that the texture around the design on the cover felt good to the hand and gave it a thicker and more solid feel. This impacted on my decision as the pattern and texture subtly blend their delicate qualities together to create a book that i found aesthetically pleasing. While the design since imprinted on a thicker material felt noticeably different making it stand out from other designs and books.

The almost scientific complexity of the simple and delicate design also relates well to the content of the book for it’s a mixture of poetry and science. While also presenting a philosophy that merges the humanities with all creation. This has made Michel Serres “one of the most intriguing thinkers of his age”, and I believe is a reason why Univocal publishing has design and printed most of his books. Because of the authors philosophical and poetic inquiry sings praise of earth and life, and what Michel Serres names singularly as ‘Biogea’. The design relates well to the content as it mixes light fresh colours with an intricate pattern, which gives a natural clean aesthetic relating to some of the topics within the book. Some of the obvious examples being the use of blue in the typography which links with text within. “ Today we have other neighbours, constituents of the Biogea; the sea, my lover; our mother, the Earth, becomes our daughter; this beautiful breeze which inspires the spirit, a spiritual mistress; our light friends, the fresh and flowing waters.

Even though the design itself is quite precise it has a sense of movement to it and gives the book a poetic feel to it, this also relates to the content, as it’s a mixture of poetic statements revolving around natural themes. “In these times when species are disappearing, when catastrophic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis impale the earth” the author wonders if anyone “worries about the death pangs of the rivers”.

The author asks the same question of philosophy “as the humanities increasingly find themselves in need of defenders. Today, all living organisms discover themselves part of the Biogea”. Knowing the content of the book also ends up shaping my view on the design of the cover as the series of lines almost create a shield like swirl or sea creature, protected by the bold strong title Biogea.
 

Biogea, designer: Jason Wagner, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 157.3 ser 3

a colorfulbook; eye-catching among hundreds of books


Sunday, November 26, 2017

There are a lots of books and magazines in the Rietveld Library, but I couldn’t find a book that is really attracted me. Something was inadequate for a chosen book. And I found a book named ‘Felieke van der Leest: The Zoo of Life: Jewellery & Objects 1996 2014’ at the first glance, it looked like an magazine. there was a big image and big letters placed on the cover.

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Inside of it, there were a lot of coloful images that made me to feel like reading a fairy tales unlike other surrounding books. The layout between the images is neat and orderly. Each text and images is placed on different pages so it makes reader totally concentrate on the images and text seperately.
images seemed that designer considered how the image looks good. In some pages, she used two pages to watch the details of small jewelery.

Some images’ backgrounds  were colored, so collaboration of colors makes jewelery look better and a soft, warm feeling rather than a hard feeling.

 

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There are some no-framed images, so I felt more that the images decorate the pages rather than the hard feeling of ‘placing images in books’

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And I researched information about a designer of the book. Her name is Jorunn Veiteberg. She is an independent writer and curator based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She edited an published many books about jewelry.

Jorunn Veiteberg, born in Norway in 1955 but now living in Denmark, is internationally acknowledged in the area of arts and crafts theory.

Veiteberg has a PhD in art history from the University of Bergen, Norway, 1982 and a Dr.Philos degree from 2000. She has been head of exhibitions at Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen and Galleri F15 in Moss and head of arts in Norwegian Broadcasting/Television. She was editor-in-chief of the Norwegian arts and craft magazine Kunsthandverk1998–2007, and adjunct professor in Creative Curating at Bergen Academy of Art and Design 2007–2014. She was guest professor at School of Design and Crafts at Gothenburg University, Sweden 2013-2016. She is appointed a member of the Norwegian Art Council for the years 2016–2019. Veiteberg has written or edited 24 books and contributed to around 200 international anthologies, journals or catalogues.

Not the least, her book “Frå tause ting till talande objekt” (From silent things to speaking objects) has had a significant impact in this area. In this book she summarizes and describes the evolution and present state of the arts and crafts field. Veiteberg also has unique experiences in how research in this field can take concrete expressions, and how the forms for artistic research in the arts and crafts can be formulated.Through a three year stipend from the foundation she is now a visiting professor at the School of Design and Crafts at Gothenburg University for three years starting 2012.

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She has been awarded with Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize 1999, Norsk Forms Hederspris 2010, Norske Kunsthåndverkeres Ærespris 2013 and Årets nynorskbrukar 2015.Veiteberg also has unique experiences in how research in this field can take concrete expressions, and how the forms for artistic research in the arts and crafts can be formulated.

Here’s her saying about making a book and its values.

‘Photos can be very seductive and misleading. It is difficult to understand size, weight, etc. I’m afraid of making bad choices based on misreading photos. I have not defined any criteria in advance. But I have been asked to go for “high quality.” I will try to be as open minded as possible. But, perhaps I have a wider understanding of what quality can be than usual? For me, quality can also be about content, not only craftsmanship.’
You have a particular interest in how makers articulate their relationship to culture and history. Meanwhile, application forms leave very little room for contextualization of the work. When you review the applications, you will be looking at images, titles, and a simple list of materials and processes. How do you feel about this?
I don’t belong to the school that thinks artwork speaks for itself. Knowing so little about the work is what makes this exercise so challenging and the risk of making failures so big. I might have an experienced eye, but I don’t consider myself a connoisseur. So, I would have expected an artist statement to follow the piece, but you mean there is no room for that?
I felt that she has firm value of work and choosing her words carefully.
 

The Zoo of Life, jewelry artist/designer: Felieke van der Leest, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 777.6 lee 2

The spoken History of the young worker


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The magazine was on the shelf and the first thing that i picked up, I was immediately drawn to this magazine. The first thing that I noticed was the size – A3 -, demands your attention, gives importance. The cover is the picture of a young man, the eyes immediately captured my attention, eyes that tell a story. They make want to know what he has to tell.

Front

The dialogue in the magazine is mostly told in black and white photographs, what relates to the titel ‘’The spoken history of the young worker’’. The pictures are strong, dynamic, a lot of energy. There are also pages out of newspapers or other magazines from all over the world relating to the young worker. I think they this to connect the workers from all over the world as one unity.

What really spoke to me about the young worker is how relatable they are. Boy’s my age working, revolting, search for freedom. A peak into a different age but we still want the same at the core.  The story of the everyday people that is not what I typically think of when I think of design.

The Worker Photographers from the ’20s were the first amateur photographers to use the camera politically. They were pioneer in what we could call a ‘civil and collective use’ of photography. Far from having a rhetorical approach to Worker Photography, they are interested in their radical practice of photography based on self-representation, self-publishing and image critique

On page 3 you immediately get to know the spirit of the workers, what they have to say.

They are all different

temper

ambition

adaptability

team spirit

On the first page you have a collage for the youth photography programme and on the 4 and on page 4 an NEGATIV-ENTWICKLUNG. So on the first 3 pages you have the spirit of the worker and an mannual how to tell the story of the people. A manual to carry on the revolution.

Page 45/46 touched me the most, the plumber woman that dreams of going to college and the trainees that riot after the suicide of one their colleagues. Both heavy in the themes, and emphasizes by the word SCUM how we treat these human beings.

What i loved about the magazine is the IMAGE ACT, you can take it out of the magazine and made out of green paper. Image Act takes inspiration from the speech act, a concept in linguistics that explains how words can have qualities that go beyond the information they convey and materially affect our existence. These sound files are archived and accessible online at werkermagazine.org/imageact . The speeches are given in their own languages.

Werker correspondent aims to develop an autonomous and economically self-sustainable community of reporters and subscribers. the intention of this network is to function as a direct unmediated information source, communicating the everyday realities in different parts of the world.

Rogier Delfos is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He studied a BA Graphic Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, an MA Critical Studies at the Sandberg Institute and is currently teaching at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. In his artistic practice he works with publishing as a communication technology that creates a multitude of social behavior. He experiments with an array of techniques of publishing to express his desires and micropolitics and spread alternative views on labour, gender, education and queer sexualities. His definition of ‘publishing’ has a wide and foremost artistic understanding; he is using various forms of printed matter, film, online platforms, installations, workshops and—as a more recent involvement—by way of writing and performative lectures.

Because this magazine is all about telling the story of the daily worker, how do tell a story. I decided to show the world of the the daily worker at the Albert Cuyp market. Young boys that work there but also men that work there for over 20 years. The pictures are taken in the night when they breaking of the market, that is when the workers have the most interactions with each other. Chatting with your neighbour from 3 stalls down, breaking off to rebuilt it all tomorrow.

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Werker Magazine #1, designer: Marc Riog Blesa & Rogier Delfos, Rietveld Library Cat. no: werk 2a/b

Gorillas inside a box


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The first indication given to us about this assignment was to select a book based solely on its design. As soon as this information was delivered the first thing that popped into my mind was to find one that would present the most extravagant, out of the box features, so that whatever the next steps to follow would be, the subject matter could not be accused of being boring.

Ironically enough, I chose a book that is inside a box. Which actually was the main reason it outshone its shelf mates, that suddenly looked very serious with their glue bind cover.

A07748_l

Puzzle box by Ines Lechleitner is an artist book released in 2009. I was momentarily skeptical at the functionality of its green gapped cardboard cover —not that it mattered to my eyes, since the pick was based on unconventionality—, or to put it in a way that fits better the central reasoning that led to my choice, maybe the fact that it would present an additional layer to access its content, or remind the feeling of opening a present, would make it more interesting. Soon, the content justified the packaging: it is composed by two books one being the artist’s work where you can find pictures of a group of gorillas in a German zoo and drawings that explain the movements made by the camera. The second one being a response of different authors to the work carried out. Then, two videos were also included — found as a CD in the book— that focus on the gorillas entering and leaving the frame, and finally, a map of the relations between the gorillas’ habitat, the photographs and videos. The box now seemed like a handy support to carry the CD and the map.

You can find the true reasoning behind the design in the author’s website: «Puzzle Box is modeled after ‘Beschäftigungskästen’, which were designed specifically for apes as an interactive occupation and recreation tool. The apes are expected to learn how to manipulate grains inside the box by pushing them from one level to the next in order to gain access to the food.»

This box was inside the gorilla’s location and is recurrently found throughout the images of the book

IMG_07554w

IMG_0757 (1)3256

As I mentioned earlier the book contains a response of different authors to the work. It was captured as a conversation between the artist and the authors. When I finished reading it, I imagined myself participating in that conversation. To get more insight on what the artist had experienced over the period of 5 years in which she developed this project I decided to go to the Amsterdam zoo to elaborate my response.

I quickly began to make associations. The humans standing there encircling the gorillas’ cage while expressing their reactions could be similar to the way the gorillas manipulate the Beschäftigungskästen, both actions are driven by the effect, even if in the first case it might be entertainment and in the latter obtaining some food. It is interesting to consider the sizes of those involved in this equation and the movement of this idea which goes inwards in distance.  Us humans look at the cage and touch the glass with our fingers while inside, the gorillas look at the box touching it to get some food. And even taking it further, while manipulating the box the gorillas fell into it, furthering the confinement, satisfying the humans need for entertainment and consumerism now possible through the Puzzle Box in which they lie. Definitely, I noticed how much my perception of the zoo as a place had shifted since I was a child.

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There are five polar notions that get emphasized in the book

we/them

open/closed

active/passive

space/movement

In the frame (onscreen)/ out of the frame (offscreen)

The pictures in black and white somehow make stronger the sensation of two different entities separated by distance. The framing delimits the space in a way that makes you wonder what is around, almost as if each picture wasn’t complete or was a piece of a puzzle. It also happens with the video where you would need a 360º panorama to understand the full set. The pace in which the gorillas are depicted is calm, almost uninterested.

In the zoo, once I spent enough time with the gorillas and my brain ended up getting used to the extreme, overwhelming aroma, I was able to truly concentrate on their movements, realizing how much more aware I was becoming of my own. I felt there was a strong relation between this feeling and the fact that the whole work of the artist (the map, the video, the pictures and the drawings) was to know very precisely, almost memorizing, each step and movement of the gorillas knowing what movement it was, which place were they occupying in space, when they did it, all of it systematically. This is also linked to the book’s design that appears to be calculated, calm and neat, using the same typewriter font throughout the book, and clean ‘one-line’ drawings.

Remembering that humans possess in a 98% the same DNA than gorillas I suddenly felt funny imagining my movements being dissected in a book.

 

Puzzle Book, designer: Ines Lechleitner, Rietveld Library Cat. no: lec 1

Reference work of the subconscious


Saturday, November 25, 2017

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Parallel Encyclopedia #2: welcome in Batia Suter’s head and my interpretation of what that might be. She searched, she found and she took, and now she is giving it back. The book turned into an object that spikes my curiosity, and not only because of her collection of curiosities.
The green cover spoke to me. I picked it up and it spoke even louder. I decided to dig further and at one point it made me want to dress in rubber boots, a jacket with too many pockets and a bucket hat and go off to explore the world. And bring a camera.

2014-01-03 12.11.22

After Parallel Encyclopedia – an almost black-and-white compilation of her personal archive of seemingly random pictures – Batia Suter made a second volume. An artist’s book poured into an encyclopedia-shaped cast. Where Parallel Encyclopedia number 1 contained strictly black and white imagery, number two also allows specks of colours to seep through the pages.

2014-01-03 12.09.10

One might wonder, in a book like this: what did the designer do? It’s Batia Suter’s collection, and her intuition that ordered the pictures. Where did the designer – Roger Willems – drop in? Where did the designer left his mark. Did he had a say and what did he say? Where and if to use colour in this otherwise black and white universe? To use Biotop paper in 90 grams, to give it all a functional feel? To add two red bookmark ribbons?

On might wonder – hidden inside this volume is a parallel world of a parallel world of a parallel world.
One might wander – an encyclopedia of no practical information but visual information, a dreamy answer to an 2000-year old tradition of encyclopedia-making. Another possible answer to this tradition is Wikipedia. Wikipedia suffocates most encyclopedia, but not this one, not Parallel Encyclopedia. This one tells us what Wikipedia can never tell and thank God doesn’t and probably doesn’t even want to. This one is a reference work of the subconscious. Batia Suter’s thematic categories are her own: giving us the suggestion of a story, or not at all – we all make up our stories anyway. She leads us into a great grey and black and white world, different worlds within different worlds, from curiosity to curiosity, from dreams to wonder. She let’s us jump from trees to mountains to griendhout to wolzakverwering and the wall of Hadrianus; Britannia. From fields to Kirchner to winter to bacteria and giving us a neat visual experience whilst doing it.

2014-01-03 12.13.24

Flip.

Page 105.

Workman sprays carbolic powder on a 35-yd long rubbish pile during strike of garbage collectors in London in September 1969. A picture of stacked boats, a woman shopping on the Amsterdam flowermarket. No clue how this works together, but somehow, it works.

Flip.

Page 177.

Verschillende dwarsdoorsnedes van kringsporig hout (es), verspreidporig hout (esdoorn), halfkringsporig hout (kers), mergstralen (eik), mergstralen (tulpenboom), and so on.

Flip.

Page 236.

The moon.

Page 237.

Several spherical objects, mirroring the moon.

Flip.

Page 440.

The entire page is filled with a picture of flowers that remind me of orchids, but apparently are called Odontonia.

Page 441.

The entire page is filled with a picture of geisha girls of the early 1900s. Their kimonos and the plants in the pictures depict flowers that mirror the Odontonia.

Flip.

Page 438.

Several pictures of butterflies, and hands being spread open, resembling butterfly wings.

It’s design is imbedded in it’s content, made to serve this visual feast. Made to serve the hidden narrative. Or the none-existent narrative. It’s not organised in a seemingly logical way, but for Batia Suter, it probably is. She is pretty convincing.

One might wonder – the strays and wanderers, all nicely wrapped in shiny green.

What’s the hand of the artist and what’s the hand of the designer?
They probably used both.
 

Parallel Encyclopedia 2, designer: Batia Suter / Roger Willems, Rietveld Library Cat.no: sute 5

Judge a book by its cover


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Book Cover     Illustration 2

Sound file: ‘Front Cover’

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The blue colour of the spine was the first thing that attracted me to the book ‘Walls That Teach’. I reached up to grab the book and upon closer inspection I discovered a beautiful cover with an interesting layout of text and attractive illustrations. The layout of text on the back of the cover for example runs horizontally, forcing you to turn the book to the side to read the text – something that reoccurs occasionally within the book. Despite the title of the book and the topic – architecture of youth centres – being an unknown topic to me, the design of the cover intrigued me enough to give the book a chance and look within it.

Typo 'w'

I opened the book and ran my fingers through the pages to feel the paper. The book felt light and the paper felt thin. The colours of the paper were the next thing that I noticed – they vary between green, white, and black paper. The main texts appear on the green and black paper. The illustrations and images appear on the white paper. The white pages are laid out horizontally requiring the reader to turn the book to its side in order to look at it.

Sound file: ‘Chronological’

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Young Pioneer Palace 3

The way the font (Gil Sans, Gill Sans Infant) is used and the strokes of the letters, the layout of the paragraphs, the letter spacing, word spacing and line spacing give a feeling of space on the pages without giving the impression that the page feels empty. The letters, words and lines are spaced quite far apart. The Paragraphs are centred on the middle of the pages, leaving a space of about an inch on either side. The strokes of the letters are also light (there are specks of white on the text that is black). All of these factors contribute to the appearance of the pages not looking cluttered.

Sound file: ‘Playful Typography’

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Illustration 4

The illustrations throughout the book are very imaginative. The first illustration is on the front cover. it is an architectural drawing of a youth centre with illustrations of people demonstrating how the space would be used – people are dancing in a disco, some people are playing table tennis, some people are sitting around and some people are working.

Sound file: ‘Illustrations’

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However, these illustrations change inside the book. The people depicted in the illustration on the front cover are no longer contained within the walls of the ‘youth centre’, but are left to roam freely over the pages. Sometimes at the bottom of the page you will find a couple walking hand in hand. On another page there are people playing table tennis. On another page beside a paragraph about the planning of a youth centre there are a group of people meeting around a table discussing something.

Illustration 5

The contrast between these illustrations and the more practical architectural drawings within the book is really amusing. For someone like myself who doesn’t know much about the topic of architecture, small details such as the people wandering through the pages really capture my attention and encourage me to read. The different photographs of the youth centres under construction, how they were used and exterior shots of the buildings punctuated throughout the book also adds another dimension. The combination of how the text is put together, the illustrations, drawings and photographs really brings the book to life for me.

Sound file: ‘Images’

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Book Images 2 Book Images 3

My first impression of the book was that it appeared to be playfully made. This struck me as being funny because the topic of the book is about youth centre architecture, but the topic of the book suggested that it could be heavy to read. Upon opening the book and reading it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the playfulness of the cover continued throughout. All the different elements brought together really encouraged me to read. I think that the intention of the design element of the book is to inspire the audience to interact with the book and create discussion. All in all a very well designed book.

 

Walls that Teach, designer: David Bennewith & Sandra Kassenaar, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 718.5 pie 1.8 met 1

Orange


Saturday, November 25, 2017

 

Orange to catch the eye and then black and white.

Creating pleasure, stimulating sight.

Images contrasting, dark and light.

Clashing shadows tend to fight.

Hundreds of books, a sea of bindings.

Holding stories, facts and findings.

A linen cover caught my attention.

A decision made with no suspension.

 

The book AR-artistic research was conceived through a one-year collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)and the German company Siemens-Stiftung. Multiple artists contributed essays to the book about their work and how they combine art and technology. The book is designed by Novamondo (Berlin) and no individual names of designers are given which may mean that a number of people were involved in the design of the book.

AR-artistic research has 131 pages bound in a hard cover. The image on the cover, designed by Jae Rhim Lee, has an interesting circle structure in fluorescent orange. Later in the book you come across the same image and realize the circles are mushrooms. The fluorescent colour really caught my eye. The orange/red colour fills almost the whole front of the cover. The image is screen-printed onto cream coloured, linen-like material that is very pleasant to hold. The hardback cover has the quality of a painter’s canvas.

 

ar-artistic-research-45

 

 

Looking through the book I immediately realized this fluorescent orange plays an important role in the design of the book. The colour returns on almost every page, usually emphasizing significant images or important parts of the text. The rest of the book is printed in black and white. The futuristic fluorescent orange in combination with traditional black and white create a fascinating relationship with many surprises.

AR-artistic research has four chapters that have no images. These chapters, which are full of text, were surprisingly one of the first things to catch my eye when I first looked through the book. In these chapters the designers play with the three colours (orange, black and white). I think limiting yourself to these three colours is an interesting decision. To experience this limitation myself I decided to experiment with the colours.

 

boekslides3

 

I combined black with the fluorescent orange and afterwards I did the same thing using white. Throughout my experiment I used the same orange tone, yet the colour seemed to change. This effect is called the contrast effect. It is an effect that you see everywhere though I had never properly taken it in. Using the contrast effect within design, you can create a structure of importance in size, shape and colour. The designers of AR-artistic research make great use of this effect. The fluorescent, eye-catching orange is a good contrast to the more inconspicuous black and white. The designers also create a lot of contrast in image and font size. This gives the reader the impression some images or sentences are more important than others. It also creates interesting layouts and some very fine prints.

There are five images in the book that cover two complete pages. The images are mainly photos and in every image the light and dark juxtapose each other. My favourite image is of white mushroom roots on a black background (see GIF below). The simplicity of the image and the differences in light and dark are very impressive. I think it was a good decision of the designers to dedicate two pages for this image. If the image was smaller the reader might not give it as much attention because of its simplicity.

 

boekafbeeldingen2

 

This is the first time I have focused on the design of a book instead of content, which was an interesting experience. Not only have I learned a lot about the book’s design but I have also learned a new way of looking. I hope now not just to read the content of a book but also to read the design. I have also fallen in love with this particular colour of orange.
AR–Artistic Research, designer: unknown, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 700.8 met 1

We Have Skype


Friday, November 24, 2017

“All languages are foreign.

The best books are found, not sought.

Peace, plenty, truth, and love.”

- We Have Photoshop 2017.

 

12/11/2017

Dear creators/members of We Have Photoshop,

First I will introduce myself; my name is Sterre, I am a Dutch student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.

For a design research assignment called ‘Books by Design’, I am analyzing the design of your book ‘Gilles Deleuze’s ABC primer.’ I found it at our school’s library and was immediately attracted to its playfulness. The only thing that bothers me is that there’s always a grand distance between the reader and the creator, I would love to let go of that distance by having a small talk with you, that would help me understand your way of decision making.

Does We Have Photoshop also have Skype? I would love to wake up in the middle of the night for a nice conversation with you!

Let me hear what you think about it and hopefully I’ll see you soon through my computer screen.

Kind regards,

Sterre Troquay

15/11/2017

Hi Sterre –

Nice to hear from you

and sorry about the delay in getting back to you.

I’d be happy to help with your project by having a chat on Skype.

I live in London so the time difference won’t be a big deal however,

I’m currently travelling between India and Russia

and won’t be back in London until the evening of the 19th.

I’m pretty busy during the day next week

but would be happy to chat after 7pm London-time

if that isn’t too late to be of use for your project.

Monday would work well for me

but it could be a different day if that isn’t good for you.

– Mike

 

17/11/2017

Hi Mike,

Thank you for responding!

Monday 7 pm London time is perfect!

My username on Skype is: Sterre…...

I’m looking forward to it!

Kind regards,

Sterre

 

20/11/2017

Skype video call

So, you work together with other designers within the studio called ‘We Have Photoshop, right?

Yes, that’s right.

 

Can you tell me a bit more about the genesis of the studio?

I started the studio together with my friends from collage.

We used to study at the Yale School of Art,

though the studio was never registered as an official company.

 

How do you work together? Do all of you work on each project, or ..

No, as soon as we graduated from art school,

most of us moved out of Brooklyn and the group scattered a bit.

Sebastian lives in Moscow, Rebecca in Chicago,

Andrew still lives in Brooklyn and I live in London.

The distance makes it hard to work together on projects,

that’s why the studio barely exists, most of us have other primary jobs now.

Whenever we work for a client,

one of us takes the job and we sometimes help each other completing the job.

Most of the time we consult via Skype, but I sometimes go for a visit.

 

You designed ‘Gilles Deleuze’s ABC Primer’. Was anyone else involved in the designing of the book and was there a client that had influence on the outcome?

I designed almost the whole book.

Only the title page isn’t my idea, Sebastian worked on that.

I think there’s a clear contrast between his work and the rest of the book,

you can tell it’s been designed by someone else.

This project really originates from my own interests, there’s no client involved.

It started about 8 or 9 years ago when I found videos

of a series of interviews according to the letters of the alphabet.

They were broadcasted on French television after Deleuze committed suïcide,

I believe This was one of his conditions for taking part in the interview in the first place.

My girlfriend at that time, now wife, speaks French quite well and also works as an academic, so this subject was very interesting for her as well.

We thought: if this book doesn’t exist already,

we could make an English translation of it.

We sent an email to ask for permission to translate the interviews,

 but they never responded,

so we figured that we could just do it since they’ve never said no.

My wife did the translations and the content and I did the design.

 

Did you know that the book was in the Rietveld library?

No, when you publish a book, you never get to know who buys it.

Nowadays that’s already different, now they do tell you in which country it’s been sold.

But we also never really wanted to publish it.

We wanted to make a translation to give it to our friends

because we thought they should read it as well.

….

I don’t really give clear answers to your questions, do I?

 

Yes you do .. But I also wouldn’t mind if you didn’t .. I just want to hear about everything you’ve got to say and at the end I’ll try to write a research in the same conversation-like style that the text of the book is written in. So, that’s why I’m also recording this ..

So, have you read the book then?

Yes, I’ve started on it and I really want to continue.

 

Yes, they have a pretty amazing conversation ..

That’s one of the reasons why we were attracted to doing this,

because the text is really good. I have read it a couple of times now,

but I can imagine it’s very hard to understand for someone

who’s not a specialist in theory.

It’s very dense, it’s very particular and specific.

 

They talk about a lot of different subjects as well.

Yes. The interview is structured by the letters of the alphabet,

but throughout the interview some ideas and subjects

return in the conversation they’re having.

 

I feel like the playful design of the book is really in contrast with its logical and chronological context. The cover of the book for instance: the letter ‘Z’ is on the front and the letter ‘A’ is on the back, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Is it a joke?

cover

Yes, it’s definitely a joke.

But still the cover of the book makes sense: When you open it, and look at the cover,

the ‘A’ comes before the ‘Z’ and the spine serves as a space between the letters.

Can you tell me a bit more about the design of the book and the decisions you’ve made? I’m also interested in your working process.

Of course.

 The design of a book really depends on the content

and I always start on the structure.

But for me, it basically means: adding, adding, adding,

and afterwards scrapping things till almost nothing’s left

and then I’ve probably done enough ..

At the time I made the book I was very interested mapping one structure onto another.

The text is made the same way: by translating the French sentences into English,

 the text becomes a bit distorted at first.

The design of the book visually mirrors that.

You can see that very well on this double titled page.

doubletitle_wit

Something that was also interesting for me is the running footer

which moves from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ across the bottom which makes it look like a small film.

The same thing happens with the structure of the chapters,

which are also divided by the letters of the alphabet.

What I really like about the book is that it looks very logical, but in fact it’s completely illogical. I don’t want it to be completely understandable, I like it to be a game.

aisfor_wit

Yes, that’s exactly what attracted me so much! We’re actually doing some bookbinding at school at the moment and I feel like this is very useful for my own book design as well. So, are you satisfied with the end result? Are there things you would have done differently?

Yes, I’m actually pleased with the physical design of the book.

Of course, there will always be things that you don’t like, but can’t do anything about.

The glue binding for instance:

the first version of the book was way more flexible than the latest version.

That’s because they used a lot more glue for the latest version.

I also prefer the paper of the first version, I’m not sure why they changed it ..

 

Thank you so much for your time and great help! I just have one more question: Would you like to take a selfie with me over Skype?

Selfie

 

Gilles Deleuze’s ABC Primer, designer: We have Photoshop, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 157.3

Visual depiction of intimacy through design


Friday, November 24, 2017

A thick, soft bound minimal book. Deep wine red cover, blank, apart from the title- “Eva Hesse, Diaries”. From a side view, multiple black lines appear – opening the book up at one of such, the viewer discovers fully blacked out pages. Clearly a separation of some kind, and this is where the curiosity started – one of the reasons why I picked up this book to research on it.

Book cover

To some extent reminiscent of a elderly and minimalist bible caused by colour and size, opening this book immediately provokes a certain curiosity; especially the confrontation with cutting through content and context sharply through a simple, basic idea – to separate each diary with coloured pages enforces the reader or viewer to get a rough insight to the actual content of Hesse’s Diaries already.

The 20 second intimacy that occurs to a person when looking at a book for the first time has always fascinated me somehow – the endless possibilities of reactions one might digest, from a deep attraction to complete indifference, and how the slightest change in design, especially typography can make the most significant change.

 

According, “Eva Hesse Diaries” reveals a very appealing approach typography wise.

Every new page usually starts with the date of the entry, which truly summons the feeling of physically opening up and reading through her original diaries.

Another attention catching factor supporting the previous are the visual irregularities in which layout and state pages are left, some being nearly blank and some completely filled, but always seemingly decisive.

As an example, turning the page to find one single sentence only may leave a vibrant impression on the viewer. For further underlining of importance, paragraphing has been used with a similar effect.

paragraphing

In the optic chaos one might expect reading a diary, this design makes us stumble upon aesthetically pleasing organization due to provision of the books typographic grid in which the manuscript pages had been divided into eight columns.

For stronger visual insurance of clarity the font size is standardized whereas uppercase, underlining and crossing outs are retained. As an extra insight content wise, some of the original materials of her diaries such as notes and loose pages have been added.

sketches

 

The design of this newly gathered selection of Eva Hesse’s diaries was awarded the bronze medal in “best book designs from all over the world 2017” and selected one of the “most beautiful Swiss books 2017” and was planned and mainly made by Johannes Breyer during his internship at the design company “NORM” in Zurich, led by Dmitri Bruni and Manuel Krebs.

To get an insight into Breyer’s approach in and understanding of design, we might want to look a bit closer at his persona itself.

He is a half German, half Chilean graphic designer currently based in Berlin who studied in Zurich whilst being occupied at NORM before he graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

 

http://www.norm.to

Nowadays he focuses mainly on printed matter such as books, and type design.

His interest in graphic design roots in a passion he found himself captured in during his youth where he claimed to have been an excessive gamer. Gaming led to him and his online friends stumbling upon web design which stuck to him as a field of interest so such an extent he decided to pursue this newly found passion – which leads us up until now.

Momentarily he runs a Swiss type design practice with the designer Fabian Harb called “DINAMO”, which produces typefaces and exclusive alphabets.

http://www.abcdinamo.com/about

Breyer is interested in creating and deducing the best system for each project and each product. From his perspective, it is better to hold personal preferences back, otherwise the content may be too easily forced into a form without relation to content or cause.

One of his beliefs include the fact that he thinks of passion and general curiosity as a more vital factor to success and progress rather than following an institutional education, although he’d rather work within a tight set of rules during the process of a project, claiming such set of rules to provide the necessary freedom to not run in circles with the same questions over and over again.

 

Overall, this design accurately depicts a visual insight into the artists personal life in an aesthetically pleasing format that certainly deserves the attention it has gotten. To achieve the effect of a reader entering the mind of a complete stranger could be described as a phenomena, considering the fact that in a social surrounding people interact on a mostly superficial basis – depending on the individually desired extent of social interactions. Exposing the raw content that makes up our persona, sharing every single vital thought, including angst and paranoia, socially unacceptable thoughts and processes in mind is something most people fear – but it also awakens a greater curiosity. To gather personal content together and deal with such sensible material in an appropriate manner could be considered an honorable task, anyhow this book is certainly worth giving it a look at.
Eva Hesse Diaries, designer: Johannes Breyer, Rietveld Library Cat. no: hes 9

Book or object?


Friday, November 24, 2017

I love books. Looking at books, or preferably full bookshelves, has always made me happy. It is not that I loved books because of the way they looked, but rather because of the knowledge that they represent. I’ve always seen books as a medium for information, as a source of knowledge, and because of that, I thought that the content was the most important part of a book.

When I started to make a book myself, I focused on the content, seeing the design as something ‘to worry about later’ or even, something ‘not to think about too much at all’. However, at the same time as making my own book, I did a research on a book designed by Irma Boom. Boom is a Dutch ‘bookmaker’, as she calls herself, who challenges the traditional formats of books. She doesn’t treat books as simple PdFs prints, but rather as architectonic objects. The shape, weight, and size become important aspects of the design because these aspects influence the experience of reading the book just like the content does.

To illustrate this, Boom has prove she could as much make a book that is 170 x 225 x 113mm height and weighs 3.5kg,  than a book smaller than the tip of your pinkie. The experience of handling these two ‘objects’ are completely different. While the first one is hard to hold because of the weight, the other one is hard to hold because there’s only a small surface to hold on to. The experience of these two books would have been the same if they both had been read on a computer.

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Boom handling her smallest and biggest book. 

Another book made by Boom is Misfits. Misfits has an outstanding shape too, which spoke to me immediately. The book is bound in the simplest way, but it is an unusual way for a book so thick. It is bound by one thread that holds more than 300 pages together. Like Boom says herself, the book is essentially ‘just a pile of paper, stapled, folded and that is it’.

misfits front

The middle of the book, where the thread binds the book and the pages come together, is also used as the center of the content. The works that are showing in the book come here together and are ordered in a catalogue. This is also useful when flipping through the book, because this is the place where the book will open naturally. Here, the way of binding influences the structure.

misfits middle

I like that the book is unusual, as well in the shape of the book as in the structure. This makes the book interesting to look through. The book is simple in the mechanism that is used to bind the pages, but it isn’t so straightforward in the mechanism to organize the pages. At the same time, the simple solutions that are used in the book connect the book to the work of Hella Jongerius, the artist whose designs are shown in the book. She tries to find easy solutions in her designs as well.

Another book designed by Boom in which the physical shape fits the content is Elements. Elements is a book, or rather a collection of books, that accompanied the exhibition ‘Elements in Architecture’ at the 2014 Venice Biennale. It is a sort of frame that beholds 15 smaller books, each representing another fundamental part of architecture, such as floor, wall, ceiling, balcony, elevator and ramp. The fact that the book is a collection of different parts, different elements, strengthens the content of the book.

elements shelf

The complete collection of Elements standing in a full shelf with other books designed by Irma Boom.

Elements and Misfits both are books with an unusual physical shape. These books got my attention because of their shape, not their content. For me, they where more ‘objects’ than ‘books’. Books are of course always objects, but when does a reader become aware that it is an object? When does a book become more than content, fitted in pages?

Boom’s books are often seen as works of art. I think that one of the reasons for this is their object-quality. They are interesting to look at as object and don’t necessarily need their content to be interesting. This makes them almost like autonomous works of art.

In my own project too, I’m trying to make the design of the book interesting and fitting for the content. I let myself be inspired by Boom’s book designs and made, like Boom did with Elements, a collection of smaller books. These books are bound in the same way as Misfits is bound. In the middle of the book I placed the most important pictures, like Boom used the center for a summary. This way I hope that when someone opens the book, the most important page is immediately visible.

own collection2kopie

own middle

Researching the way Boom uses the physical elements of a book to enhance the content made me aware that a book could be more than just printed out pages, bound together. I realized that books are objects too. I have my own copy of Misfits now, which is not standing in my bookshelf, but proudly on top of it. I haven’t read a page of it yet, but I’m in love with the book already.

Misfit, designer: Irma Boom, Rietveld Library Cat. no: jonger 2

Paper Senses


Friday, November 24, 2017

 

What                 about

         a     paper      experience    ?

 

Texture      //////////////   Size///////////////////

////  Shape//////////////////////////////////Smell

 

 

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Reading is normally the first motivation for buying a book right? But it isn’t always the case, at least not for me. There are so many different things that can bring you to this mysterious and incredible object: the book. One of them is the paper experience and since ages it is a full and really particular sensorial one.

 

In fact, only for this reason,  I spend hours and hours in book shops searching for something attractive. But what does it  « something attractive » mean? After spending four years studying Graphic Design in Switzerland, I have learned how to understand layouts, how to make them attractive, and how to manage different information to make them more accessible. But Furthermore I’ve learned that the base of all the work of a graphic designer is sensibility. How to play with visual and tactile senses. How to make you curious on a subject that you don’t really care about just by the shape of a book. The content of it, is for certain the most important thing but some people can look at a book in a totally different way.  For instance, when I buy books, pay attention to the layout or the paper, more than to the content.

 

 

Through the broad variety of books available in the Rietveld unique library, my eyes fell on a small and independent  magazine called « The YellowPress ». It was created by the St Lucas School of Arts of Antwerpen. This magazine’s particularity is that for each one of their periodical they gives the opportunity to all students, alumni, researchers and professors of the school to share their on-going research and/or output / results. This enables a diversity and an open-minded perspective of the magazine and creates the possibility to reinvent the layout’s atmosphere and dynamic. This explains the reason why each periodical has a completely different shape, typography and layout design.
I chose to focus my work on the first number of the periodical made by the graphic designer Ward Heirwegh who teaches graphic design at the St Lucas School of Arts.

 

Cover

 

More precisely, I’ve chosen to work on the Periodical #1 because at first sight it was the design of the cover that I noticed. Therefore, I focused only on the design of the magazine, not on the content. First of all, we can see how images are articulated with the text in a way that they interact with each other and play with the space of the page. The fact that they are using a card board for the cover but also for the Editorial and Colophon was at first something that I’ve found really playful and unusual. The cover is normally more straight than the content but in this case, they played with the same paper inside of the book and bring an other dynamic.

 

image4

 

The back cover is also interesting because they played only with text elements and the size of the text, which gives a special interest to the pages because the integral empty space. That is one of the knowledge of a good designer to know how to manage the white space and make it interesting. As many Graphic Designers, they used only text and play with the idea that it can become an image.

The color of the cover has been something really intriguing because it is a fluorescent yellow. This choice gives a certain impact to the cover because it catches the reader’s eye. Among the four pictures on the cover, only one is in color and the others are only black and white. From my perspective,  this gives a tension to the way that it is framed because of the repartition of the space.

 

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image1

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  image3.1

 

Moreover, the dynamic is followed by the utilization of all different kinds of paper for each edition. As I have mentioned previously the cover and the Editorial are printed on a card board and the four projects are presented on different papers. By this simple act, they created a different atmosphere for each periodical and gave another dynamic to the work. One of the first things that I usually like to look at when I’m discovering a book is the choice of paper. This simple fact allows you to give a whole sensibility to your object. Furthermore, what differentiates a printed book from a digital book is precisely the choice of the material and also the images can be really different depending on the paper and the quality of the printing. The paper is the real contact with the object and therefore a full sensorial experience. The magazine’s choice to change the paper for each project gives a different feeling to each work and invites the reader to discover/ experience something new every time . From my point of view, this is one of the most important characteristic.

 

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By conducting my research, I saw that The YellowPress is variable for each project. I liked the fact that they have found different dynamics, playing with the space and the different typographies. They have chosen to use different typographies for the different parts of the magazine and by this means, we can distinguish the different parts of the magazine: for example, the Editorial, the introduction to a work, the information of the pages, etc. The fact that they mix different kinds of typography shows that they care about each shape and dynamic of the typography and about what experience they could create on the ready. It is a subtle way to play with the content.

 

binding

 

On this periodical, one of the things that I’ve really liked was the bookbinding. They have work with a sew and stick binding and it gives something really attractive to the object. By the fact that the layoutis really clean and nice and you have this industrial binding which brings another dimension to the project, more experimental and practical.

After my analysis about the layout of this magazine, I think that in the first place I was actually more attracted by the choice of the different papers than about the layout itself. I still like how they  have constructed and organized the magazine but I’m really interested by the texture. What I’ve also really enjoyed about this magazine is that they didn’t respect the common codes that magazines usually follow. A magazine is usually based on a specific grill and respect certain typography and system for each periodical. In the YellowPress, they adapt and change every time every thing.

 
We are at a time when the value of paper is being questioned and compared to digital. It is essential to see in this medium a real quality and sensory experience that I believe, can never be equaled by the digital. People crave for something real, a physical object that is unique and that you can hold in your hand and experience it.

The YellowPress Periodical #1, designer: Ward Heirwegh, Rietveld Library Cat. no: magazine

The Continuing Story of Life on Earth


Friday, November 24, 2017

Hamburger Eyes. The Continuing Story of Life on Earth… Bizarre title aside- hamburger eyes? life on earth continues!!- what attracted me the most was the cover, more specifically its texture. The pleasant sensation of its grainy, bulky surface on my fingertips reminded me of snowy twitches of bad TV signal, or, perhaps more curiously, the thick, shiny, rough surface of the corridor walls in my primary school in Russia (a serious throwback!). A visuo-tactile experience. A tactile eye (a Hamburger Eye?)

cover-backside_1200

The object-oriented appeal of this catalogue is emphasized by the cover’s minimal design: front- one black and white image, framed simply and straightforwardly, no text; back- modest typeface (and size) of the title, another black and white shot, Kunstverein München. The Continuing Story of Life on Earth is the sixth installment in Kunstverein München’s Companion series, produced in collaboration with Roma Publications since April 2015,  and was released on the occasion of the exhibition by Hamburger Eyes at Kunstverein München. I’m still not entirely sure what Companion series is all about, other than quietly beautiful, tactile books; book-objects. They are artist/exhibition books primarily, all clad in that leathery grain and defined by simple, sharp covers and minimalist layouts; images taking up full pages, and separated completely from text, which always has its own section. I have managed to get hold of two more publications from the series, You’ve got beautiful stairs, you know (artist book for/by la Vasiljeva), and Serving Compressed Energy with Vacuum (exhibition catalogue for Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven). Both have the same multi-sensory appeal of a well-designed object; as publications, they are direct in their materiality but somewhat elusive in their origin and intention: where did they come from? Who made them?

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Companion is conceptualized and designed by Julie Peeters , a Brussels-based graphic designer, editor and educator. For the sake of this brief research we are going to conflate the series with the person behind them; she is credited under ‘identity’ as well as under graphic design. Companion is Julie Peeters.

Peeters deals primarily with exhibition-related printed matter- booklets, posters, catalogues; on her website you can find examples of ‘anthologies of installations’, exhibition designs, as well as credits for the identity of Lithuanian and Cyprus Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennial. Peeter’s signature minimalism, as seen in Companion, is consistent throughout her design practice: simple yet bold covers without titles (if possible), text relegated to its own section in the back, simple layouts that let images unfold, breath, softly assert themselves. A prime example of this is Julia’s design of Full Colour by Karel Martens, published on the occasion of an exhibition in Tokyo. Graphic, enigmatic cover; title humbly relegated to the spine ; images taking up the whole page, on every page. Never a literal representation, a book by Peeters is an autonomous object, which augments its origin (an exhibition, an artist’s practice), yet has a character of its own.

Full Colour OUTSIDE

Full Colour INSIDE

Upon closer inspection the book’s identity unfolds; The Continuing Story of Life on Earth is not just Peeters. Hamburger Eyes began as a small xeroxed zine, turned into a magazine, and has evolved into a publisher. Publishing since 2001, they have developed their own signature vision of photography-

‘Ray selects images for their almost unexplainable impact, for their ‘epic’ qualities that exceed understanding, that SURPASS LANGUAGE…’
very Peeters?…

and a self-assured design style-

‘the current format is black and white printing on matte stock, print run of 500 copies, 6 x 9 inches, 64 pages, with PERFECT bind

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The exhibition

which spawned this curious book (‘facsimiles of spreads from the back issues of Hamburger Eyes’) points to the mutually informative relationship between the design and the content. Each image was exhibited unframed and face up on tables, ‘as if a zine were being collated’. Hamburger Eyes promise to focus on the quality of a given image, rather than on the quality of its framing or installation ~ ~ ~ ~ The Continuing Story of Life on Earth has a very simple yet occasionally claustrophobic (two images stuck to one another on one page, with one blown up on the other) layout that recalls the intimate space of a zine. The book also houses an essay, that weaves throughout the whole book and is punctuated with tiny images- who made the choice when it comes to this punctuation? The publication is authored by Chris Fitzpatrick (editor?…), who also initiated the exhibition; one has to always consider the relationship between the designer and the author. The Continuing Story of Life on Earth is a collaborative effort shared between the two. Here content informs design, but also design informs design: from a zine to a photography magazine to an exhibition and back again trough the catalogue to our book.

Hanburger Eyes /The continuing story of life on earth, designed by Julie Peeters, Rietveld Library Catalog no: hamb 1


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