Thursday, April 11, 2013
Already as a young girl I had this specific love for libraries, though I’m scared they don’t love me back that much because I always seem to forget to get the books back on time… But anyway, being in a library felt like an adventurous gateway to all this different worlds and lives.
As a kid you make a decision on whether you like the cover or not, or on the amount of nice pictures in a book. When you grow older, the content starts to matter more and more, until it is the only thing that counts.
So last week I went to a library as if I was six years old again. Not thinking about a topic, just looking around and seeing which book catches my eye. And after some sniffing around, I found it: the book I didn’t know I wanted. On the uttermost left corner of a bottom shelf of the graphic design section, it was hiding. It had a small cover made out of a black fabric, like a luxurious pocket size notebook. But when I grabbed it, it didn’t seem to stop! Thinking it was a small notebook; it appeared twice as long as I thought it would be. Completely black, even the letters on the cover were black. It said: ‘Vladimir Navokov’. Given the fact that I found this booklet in the graphic design section, I would say, it is a rather odd place for a book of this old Russian writer.
The explanation would soon follow, because when I opened the book, it appeared to be filled with beautiful descriptions of fantasy’s Nabokov had when he thought of a specific letter. Each description came along with an illustration of the described letter. It seemed to be a new dimension of learning how to read.
This whole booklet breathes a sense of care and love for detail, a feature I can relay to a lot when I think of my own work. Even the smell is part of it. Exploring a publication on every detail you can find in the cover and layout, but without really knowing the content. And when I was studying this book, on the ground of the graphic design section of the library, I felt like I was six years old again.
Rietveld Library cat.nr: 757.3
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The exhibition had the effect of a breeze to me. After spending hours on the internet, coming across hundreds of images, of which you never really know their origin; and when the manipulation of any image is a knowledge available to any 10 year old, seeing these images in the museum seemed like a pause in the middle of all that noise.
I knew at least watching these, that their purpose was neither glamour/beauty nor economical or political.
These images are somehow free from the media society, which is allowing them to just be, simple as they are, an “objective” observation on life. Of course some decisions were made by the maker of the experiment, incorporating some subjectivity in the result, but all in all, these images depict some sort of truth.
Without pretending to be anything else than documentation or aknowledgement of what “is”, you become interested and surprised by their beauty value, but certainly more because of the fact that these images are not seeking it. But couldn’t we have this feeling by just going to a science museum? To placed them in an art museum and naming them art is really questionable. Since these images are not meant to be beautiful in any way, even if we find them beautiful, it seems a bit too simple to show them to the society as “hey, look at these, we never noticed how pretty they could be”. It’s almost as making an exhibition of children drawings in a museum, of course they can be interesting, but it’s more of the rank of a gallerie exhibition. A museum should show works that are relevant socially, in the sense that each exhibition should (and are meant to) convey a message. These scientific images in this context just seem to be visual enjoyment. Somehow I couldn’t figure out clearly where was the museum going with this choice.
Nonetheless, it made me wonder how strange and surprising nature, the universe or us are, and made me think that in these overmediated times, we can easily derail from our own awareness of basics, such as our own body, by being just a big communicative muscle.