Long-time bookleteer, artist Joyce Majiski, has created a new book of postcards exchanged between herself and artist Zea Morvitz during 2014. Its an exquisitely illustrated collaboration across both time and space – Joyce lives in the Yukon, Canada, and Zea lives in Point Reyes, California. The book is part of a current exhibition of their work, “The Art of Staying in Touch” at Sometimes Books in Point Reyes California. See more images of the exhibition on Joyce’s Tumblr.
A recent photo from Haiti showing local people at a rural clinic holding out their personal cancer awareness notebooks as part of a cervical cancer screening programme.
Over the past couple of years Grace Tillyard has been leading a groundbreaking project to enhance breast cancer awareness in Haitian women and their communities. The project has been hosted by NGO Innovating Health International and funded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer.
As part of this project, Grace has co-developed with local people an information booklet and a Patient Notebook using bookleteer to help communicate more about the condition and the medical treatments available, as well as to allow people to record their own medical information in a dedicated book of their own. A second book covering cervical cancer has also been produced. Recently the United Nations Populations Fund have been instrumental in enabling IHI to print around 15,000 copies of each of the information books for distribution to communities across Haiti.
A Kreyol (Haitian Creole) version of the book folding instructions is also now available (see below).
A few months ago I met accessibility and sensory design consultant, Alastair Somerville, who was in town to demonstrate using simple and cheap visualisation tools such as the 3Doodler pen. Over coffee we chatted about 3D printing, data manifestation and some of the tools and techniques we’ve each developed. Alastair showed me a material he has been using in wayfinding for people with visual impairments: Zy.chem swell paper, a specially treated material where the black ink ‘swells’ up to create a textured surface. Alastair had been using it to make simple tactile maps and for braille. We both then became excited about the possibilities of using the Zy.chem paper with bookleteer to create simple and low-cost braille and textured publications.
Very soon afterwards Alastair experimented with a wayfunding guide for a project he was working on for the University of Sussex’s new library, The Keep. He sent me a copy printed on the Zy.chem paper which confirmed for me that this was a material with hugely exciting creative potential. I then asked Alastair if he would consider making something special for the Periodical so we could demonstrate this to others. The result is this beautiful guide to Dal Riata, an ancient Scottish kingdom in Kilmartin Glen, Argyll which has some of the most extensive neolithic earthworks and structures in the UK.
Alastair’s book uses the zy.chem paper to impart the texture of some of the neolithic stone features of Dal Riata as well as some maps of significant sites. In addition to the tactile paper, one sheet is also printed on tracing paper, overlaying the bigger map of Scotland and Northern Ireland onto a tactile map of the kingdom of Dal Riata itself, and then providing a ‘mist’ overlaying a section about the disappearance of the kingdom during the Viking raids of the early Middle Ages. At once informative and poetic, it holds its own sense of magic and mystery within its very textures.
Alastair has posted a Vine video:
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We’re now just over halfway through our kickstarter campaign for Outside The Box : a “game engine for your imagination” designed to inspire storytelling and improvise play. We’re trying to raise £4k to manufacture a 1st edition of the complete set to get it into people’s hands and see what they do with it. Its had a slow start but we’re hoping we still may pick up momentum.
Outside The Box has no rules, nothing to win or lose, it simply provides a framework for you to imagine stories and make up your own games. It’s made up of 27 cubes, 3 layers of 9 cubes, each layer being a distinct game : Animal Match, Mission Improbable and StoryMaker. Check out the whole OTB collection of cubes and books on bookleteer.
Animal Match starts out as a puzzle – match up the animal halves to complete the pattern. From there you can make it much more fun : mix the cubes up to invent strange creatures; what would you call them? What would they sound like? How might they move?
Mission Improbable is for role-playing. There are 6 characters: Adventurer, Detective, Scientist, Spy, Storyteller and Superhero, each with 9 tasks. Use them to invent your own games, record your successes in the mission log books or take it to another level by designing your own costumes and props.
StoryMaker incites the telling of fantastical tales : Roll the 3 control cubes to decide how to tell your story, what kind it should be and where to set it. Then use the word cubes as your cue to invent a story on the spot.
Outside The Box began as a side project when illustrator Mandy Tang joined Proboscis. Inspired by the Love Outdoor Play campaign to get more children playing outside, we came up with the idea of using our StoryCube format and our bookleteer self-publishing platform to make a set of cubes that would inspire playfulness. We think its a lovely thing worth getting out into the world – we hope you agree.
This week I’ve spent a couple of days in Scotland with James Leach, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen working on ideas for recording and sharing Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in the field through hybrid technologies and tools. We are taking part in a symposium at the University of Goroka, Papua New Guinea (PNG) in late October, before travelling to Reite village on the Rai Coast (Madang Province) where James has done field work since the early 1990s.
James and I have been building on conversations we’ve had over the past 4/5 years, and on top of some earlier work together as part of the British Museum’s Melanesia project. A case study explores how we used Diffusion eNotebooks to record the experiences of two Reite villagers – Porer Nombo & Pinbin Sisau – when shown hundreds of objects in the BM ethnographic collection from their area. Bookleteer and the eBook formats proved highly adaptable and useful in this process, allowing us to record interactions on the fly – both in writing and in capturing photographs of the social interactions of the project. We used digital cameras and printed out small photos using a Polaroid PoGo printer to stick directly into the eNotebooks which, once complete, were scanned in and posted online. Some months later we also used bookleteer to print up a short run edition of the 4 eNotebooks which were used in conferences and taken back to the village.
Our conversations this week have focused around themes of process, notation and sharing. Papua New Guinea is perceived as very poor in western economic terms, yet abundant with culture and the natural world. There is a great deal of sensitivity about how indigenous knowledge – of plants, places, wildlife and culture – is both presented and shared. Who benefits? To what, if any, degree does sharing more knowledge help preserve the delicate environment from exploitation and extraction? Why and how local people might wish to record and share their own knowledge to be communicated to outsiders in ways that protect their culture and environment is at the core of this issue. What value, if any, might come to local people from annotations of their knowledge by outside ‘experts’, such as botanists and naturalists in identifying species? Might this lead to just further exploitation and depredations of natural resources?
James and Porer have already published a unique collaboration – Reite Plants – which mixes local knowledge of the flora around Reite village with social and cultural knowledge. It is also written in both English and Tok Pisin, the local creole language. This is seen as a model for working together to share knowledge that situates the plants within the lived culture of Porer’s village and at the same time fulfilling western demands for scientific classification, but without delving into complicated and thorny issues such as para-taxonomy or bio-prospecting.
James and I have been discussing how hybrids – such as bookleteer and the eNotebooks – can be used as part of a co-creative and co-designed process that enables people to use simple tools and technologies, especially ones that are readily available in PNG, to record and document what they know. Starting from the simplicity of the eNotebook format, we’ve been thinking about what kinds of process and social engagement with local people could be explored that would allow material to be created and collected in ways that allow further reflection and addition. We have been thinking of accretive processes that build up and layer the complexly interwoven customs, practices and traditions in ways that reflect the whole culture, not just individual elements that can quickly be consumed, Indigenous Public Authoring for Traditional Ecological Knowledge (IPATEK). Perhaps this itself might be another form of ritual, of patterning knowledge and experience through overlapping notations?
What excites me is the opportunity I have been offered to explore these ideas both in the context of the symposium and in Reite village itself. No doubt the ideas we have cooked up in Scotland will be transformed again and again as they evolve in our conversations and collaborations in PNG with both other thinkers and academics and local people who live within their own indigenous ‘knowledge’ and for whom its enactment is always immersed within the practice of their everyday lives.
An eccentric monthly publication for an era of eclectic exploration
More and more beautiful, thought-provoking and inspiring eBooks are being created with bookleteer all the time so, with a nod to such illustrious forebears as William Hogarth, Joseph Addison, Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne and Charles Dickens we’re creating the Periodical, a regular monthly publication to share some of the best examples – from the most beautifully designed, illustrated and written to the most experimental uses of bookleteer, its API and what can be done with the format.
Update : check out the new bookleteer Library page to browse what people have made.
For a small monthly or one-off annual subscription (see below), you can receive by post a different printed eBook each month crowdsourced from bookleteer. Our target is to launch the Periodical with at least 100 subscribers in October 2012, selecting and printing a new eBook each month for distribution. Whilst we build up the subscriptions we’ll be sending subscribers a choice eBook every month selected from among those we’ve previously printed for projects such as Professor Starling’s Expedition, Material Conditions, City As Material, As It Comes, Agencies of Engagement and others.
What Will Subscribers Receive?
The Periodical will be a monthly delight landing on your doorstep – you can expect consistent eccentricity and eclecticism in our choices. We will be seeking out the most extraordinary and unusual eBooks created and shared on bookleteer. Some will be selected by us at Proboscis, others will selected by invited curators and from time to time we’ll invite subscribers to vote for their favourite eBook to be printed and sent out as the monthly periodical. Anyone who wants to take part can contribute a book for consideration for the Periodical by signing up to bookleteer, then making and sharing an eBook. Each month we’ll post on the blog about what we’ve chosen and why – but only after we’ve sent it out, so the subscribers have the pleasure of an unexpected arrival landing on their doorstep.
Over the past 18 years Proboscis has built up a reputation for being eccentric and eclectic – for always choosing the oblique, less anticipated path. We have surprised and confounded people by building partnerships and collaborations that have taken us on a meandering journey of creativity, imagination and invention that spans a huge diversity of people, practices, places and situations. At any moment we might be found at the forefront of technology, citizen science or social media innovation (Urban Tapestries, Feral Robots, Snout, Private Reveries, Public Spaces); leading a landmark science-art collaboration (Mapping Perception); inventing new hybrid digital/physical publishing formats and platforms (Diffusion eBooks, StoryCubes, bookleteer); co-designing social innovation with grassroots communities, government and industry (Conversation & Connections, Pallion Ideas Exchange, Perception Peterborough, With Our Ears to the Ground, Sutton Grapevine); experimenting with new spaces, processes, materials and craft skills (Being In Common, As It Comes, Navigating History); working with schools (Experiencing Democracy, Everyday Archaeology) or taking a leading role in cross disciplinary research with academia (Sensory Threads, Agencies of Engagement). It will be this spirit of adventure, curiosity and exploration that will guide our curatorial choices – much as it drove the editorial policy I pursued with COIL journal of the moving image back in the 1990s.
To kickstart the Periodical we’re inviting a number of our friends, colleagues, fellow travellers and others whom we admire to explore using bookleteer themselves and to create some new publications with it that will seed the initial pool of publications from which we choose the first few issues. We’ll announce more about these soon.
To complement the crowdsourced eBooks, we are also seeking sponsors to help us commission new experimental and imaginative publications using bookleteer. These will be printed and distributed to subscribers as well as shared digitally on bookleteer for all. We’re looking for sponsors who see the opportunity that bookleteer and the Periodical offer for commissioning exciting new experiments in publishing – sharing new ideas, new knowledge and experiences in multiple ways to people all over the world. They might be themed series in themselves (following on from our previous series such as Material Conditions, City As Material, Transformations, Short Work, Liquid Geography, Species of Spaces, Performance Notations) or simply a one-off commission.
*** Please contact me for details of sponsorship opportunities.
Subscribing to the Periodical
You don’t need to use bookleteer or be signed up to subscribe and subscriptions from organisations and institutions are very welcome (email us with a purchase order to subscribe). The Periodical will be a great way to tap into the creativity generated with bookleteer, having some of its best creations delivered to your door.
Subscribers will also receive a 10% discount on any Short Run printing orders of their own (recouping their subscription by just ordering a minimum 25 copies each of 4 of their own eBooks).
UK – £3 monthly or £30 annual (Pay by Direct Debit, Barclays Pingit to 07711 069 569 or Email to Subscribe by Credit Card/Paypal etc)
European Union – £12/€15 a quarter or £40/€50 annual (Email to Subscribe by Credit Card/Paypal etc)
Rest of World – £15/US$24 a quarter or £50/US$80 annual (Email to Subscribe by Credit Card/Paypal etc)
Subscribe today to receive your first eBook.
Shi Cheng: Short Stories from Urban China, recently published by Comma Press, gathers ten fictions by writers from cities of varying affluence, nature and distance in contemporary China, not to mention the varying styles of prose and stances of the protagonists.
Dispelling the naive notion of a vast land of unified thinking, Shi Cheng (“ten cities”) tells not the comprehensive biographies of each city, but zooms in further, allowing the reader to connect with individual voices on an almost cellular level. Yet, as the editors suggest, when looking this close it’s possible that we can all relate to the universal human themes.
At tomorrow’s Soho Food Feast we will be helping the Soho Youth group (and a few others no doubt) from Soho Parish Primary School create their own reviews of the food on offer from the incredible array of chefs. We’ve created a simple notebook for them to record how their five senses respond to the foods on offer introduced by Fay Maschler, Restaurant Critic of the London Evening Standard.
Next week we will begin the task of scanning in all the children’s reviews and making a selection of the funniest, best written, most interesting reviews to include in a compilation book, which will also be made and published via bookleteer. We’ll invite the chefs taking part to have their say too – responding to the children’s reviews with quotes of their own, and ask Fay and head teacher Rachel Earnshaw (who’s leaving at the end of this term after 10 years) to write introductions. We hope to have the final book ready around mid June.
We’re inviting donations towards the printing costs and to contribute to the school itself – please use the Paypal Donation button below, visit us at our table in the ‘Dessert Ghetto’ at tomorrow’s Feast or, if you’re a member of the school community, drop into the office to make a donation and get your copy. We’re suggesting a minimum donation of £7.50 – for which you’ll get your name printed in the book as well as receiving a copy by post.
We Are All Food Critics Best Reviews Compilation
Reading an article by novelist Nick Harkaway on ‘The Evolution of Books‘, I was struck by what sounds like a very fitting description of bookleteer, particularly in the light of last year’s bookreader and QR code updates.
After concocting a brilliant, Terry Pratchett inspired scenario for future book technologies to diffuse any stale printed vs digital debates, Harkaway outlines what he believes is the real manifesto for books:
“What is the future of the book? A physical object which communicates with the digital realm; a paper book which has an electronic shadow. A hybrid which sits easily in the on and offline world. ”
Couldn’t have put it better myself.