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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I find myself in the library yet again, after waiting two hours for the library to open. Still not completely awake, I walk past the row of art books, not even bothering to touch them.
Some jump out, but on closer inspection they do not really capture my attention.
The other side of the bookcase then? Close to frustration, my eye falls on a book. Not only interesting typography –tying it, together with its width, to my fist post– but also chinese chracters! Or so I believe..
It turns out to be a book case, containing two books, both with a dull brown/beige color, but an unique texture. The pressing of the letters on the spine has made them lie a little deeper than the coarse fabric.

The books turn out to be Japanese and not Chinese. The text runs from top to bottom and right to left. But they are not entirely Japanese. The thinner one of the two books has english text added to it’s photo’s. They’re quite old fashioned and depict Japanese fabrics.The bigger book sheds a bit more light on what the books are about. Japanese book are read from right to left, and this book is read that way as well, but at the end (our our western beginning) there is a small english introduction. The first book, containing the photo’s, is a study of Okinawan textile fabrics. The book lying open in from of me contains a study of the cultural value of said textiles.
Though the subject is quite boring, the book is a work of art in itself to me. Unable to decipher even the smallest meaning from the beatiful characters, it gives me a feeling of helplessness. In a world where almost everything is understandble and rich in information, this is the opposite. It reminds me of China, where not a thing can be read or understood, and you feel like an outsider looking in, enabling you to see things you do not ordinarily see because you have to rely on other means of finding meaning in things.

The link between my two earlier choices is easy through my tags, alsmost all of them apply on these books; they are fat, have an interesting texture and typography, the inside contrast not only with our culture but through their dated appearance and sublect also contrasts nicely with these modern times. And at last culture, which these books have in abundance. The only one missing is nudity, but on the other hand, this is about textiles and fabrics, and what are those used for? Exactly clothes to cover our nudity 😉

The link between design and art is quite difficult to make at this point, because my two earlier choices (one book on sculpture and one on chinese art) where more art books, while this book is almost more a design book then those were.. Maybe I did things in a Japanese way; backwards!


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