We’ve just published our latest entry in the City As Material series: ‘Professor Starling’s Thetford-London-Oxford Expedition’ – three books documenting the investigative excursions of Professor William Starling and his research team (Lisa Hirmer and Andrew Hunter of DodoLab, Josephine Mills of the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge artist Leila Armstrong, and Giles Lane and Hazem Tagiuri of Proboscis) during his trip to the United Kingdom in Feburary, where he sought to examine the rapid disappearance of the European Starling in contrast to the continued expansion of its North American cousin.
The first volume, Perquisitions, contains descriptions of the various participants’ thoughts on the expedition and its rationale. Congeries showcases selected items and ideas collected during their travels, and the final volume, Speculations, offers reflections and fantastical musings on the material gathered and testimonies heard.
Purchase a limited edition copy complete with specially printed ribbon here.
It seems that the posts tagged with ‘Pop-up’ on the bookleteer blog have been getting a lot of attention, so I’m reaching back into the Diffusion archive to satisfy you lot.
‘Tangled Threads’ was an eBook designed to act as a film storyboard, as part of Proboscis’ Sensory Threads project. Scripted by Karen Martin and Alice Angus, and illustrated by Mandy Tang, the book is a series of intricately rendered scenes and captions, but the real draw is how Mandy has incorporated pop-up inserts at the back which the reader can cut out and assemble, adding new layers of depth to the pages.
You can have a peek at the digital version below – minus pop-ups, of course – and read posts from Karen and Mandy explaining how it was made.
Download, make and read ‘Tangled Threads’ for yourself.
I’ve been thinking a fair bit about bookleteer’s role in creating poetry pamphlets and short story collections, and the lack of much of either from budding bookleteers.
It’s boggling – they suit the format perfectly as portable, pocket sized A6 books, or the grander A5 size, and can be made very quickly without any design knowledge, in any word processing application. Use them as cheap and plentiful portfolios of work, or travel booklets for personal reading – anyone with a computer and printer has access to their own print on demand service. If you need to make changes, or they get damaged, make some more.
Or, use the online bookreader to share digital versions, and embed into websites. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve edited eBooks embedded in my portfolio site, but as the link remains the same, there’s no need to re-upload.
Despite the tone of this post, this is not a sale pitch. bookleteer is free, you skeptics. I just want see fellow writers embracing it and adding to our library of eBooks, Diffusion. Get busy!
Yesterday, Proboscis launched the first series of Material Conditions, a set of eight eBooks created with bookleteer, asking professional creative practitioners to reflect on what the material conditions for their own practice are, especially now in relation to the climate of change and uncertainty brought about by the recession and public sector cuts – part of Proboscis’ wider programme of activities, Public Goods.
For this series, we commissioned 8 artists and artist groups (Active Ingredient; Karla Brunet; Sarah Butler; Desperate Optimists; London Fieldworks; Ruth Maclennan; Jules Rochielle & Janet Owen Driggs and Jane Prophet) to produce a book each. Half of the contributors took the opportunity to design their own layouts and use bookleteer to create their books themselves, whilst the other half (often busy working on various projects and unable to make the books from scratch) took advantage of our in-house design and production team (for the most, myself, with assistance from Giles Lane) to create their books. My practice, as a writer, is usually contributing text but for this venture I took on a role as co-commissioning editor and designer – coordinating responses, reviewing early drafts and producing front covers, guided by my co-editor, Giles. In this way, the process behind this project also echoed one of its main themes – how do we continue to be creative and productive everyday in the face of limited resources?
Collaboration and co-creation are at the heart of our practice and ethos, for the riches they bring as much as resources dictate their necessity. This stance has led to a very different, and I believe perhaps more exciting, output for this series, than if all the books had simply been commissioned by us and created entirely by the artists involved remotely. I relished the chance to guide and inform, alongside Giles, the direction of several of the books, to be the first set of eyes to witness a first draft outside of its author, to design covers – sealing a visual stamp upon a beautifully written piece.
Being able to instantly generate and preview drafts in the relatively new bookreader format has also been a huge boon during the design process, and it’s accessibility will ensure Material Conditions can be read, shared and used as a resource globally, by anyone, in addition to the printed set and the downloadable PDFs. In fact, all the printed books carry a QR code link to the digital version on the back cover, so they can be instantly shared amongst smart-phones and tablet devices.
Thank you to everyone involved – we’ve got a great, diverse collection on our hands.
All the books are now available on our archive of publications, Diffusion. Delve in, and enjoy.
The next series of Material Conditions is scheduled for June 2012, for which we’re planning another experimental approach, shifting away from individual commissions to a collaborative process generated through an intensive ‘booksprint’. Stay tuned for more details.
On December 15th we are launching a new series of eBook commissions called Material Conditions. This series asks professional creative practitioners to reflect on what the material conditions for their own practice are, especially now in relation to the climate of change and uncertainty brought about by the recession and public sector cuts.
The first set of 8 contributions will be published as eBooks made with bookleteer and available as downloadable PDFs for handmade books, online via bookreader versions and in a limited edition (50) of professionally printed and bound copies which will be available for sale (at £16 per set plus P&P). You can pre-order a set via paypal:
We’ll be releasing one eBook every day on Diffusion until the print launch on December 15th in our Clerkenwell studio, where copies of the full limited edition printed set of 8 books will be available.
(Material Conditions is part of Proboscis’ Public Goods programme – seeking to create a library of responses to these urgent questions that can inspire others in the process of developing their own everyday practices of creativity; that can guide those seeking meaning for their choices; that can set out positions for action around which people can rally.)
A document of the five City As Material events we ran in London last year, this eBook collects the blog posts penned after each event, a selection of photographs taken, as well as an introduction to the project and our motives for undertaking it. Created in place of an individual eBook for Sonic Geographies, due to the absence of a special guest, this account of the series provides a narrative that was lacking from the other books produced, detailing the experience from each event on the day, not just the resulting output, and hopefully intriguing potential future collaborators.
Simply using the existing text from the bookleteer blog and full-page photographs as covers for each section, in a book, turns transitory blog posts and assorted snapshots into a publication that can stand on its own right, demonstrating the transformational effect and credence associated with a printed document (although it’s also readable online), made possible with the eBook format.
Read City As Material: An Overview with the online bookreader below, or download, print and make via Diffusion.
Created at our first Pitch Up & Publish event by Matthew Sheret, co-founder of We Are Words + Pictures, Expeditions in Paper Science is a compilation of blog posts written for his website. Matthew says:
“I’ve long been interested in the idea of physicalising web articles, and while an industry has solidified around POD in the last few years they remain a step removed from the immediacy I’m itching for. Bookleteer instantly unlocked that; simple cut-’n’-paste gave me a nice little document I’ve been throwing around since.”
A collaborative eBook produced as a result of our City As Material: Skyline event, Ancient Lights, City Shadows features mixed media collected on the day and material we were inspired to create after our wander through the city.
Adorning the cover is one of Martin Fidler’s intricate skyline drawings, opposed with an ambiguous photograph of Tower 42, taken from ground level, looking up – once the image is reversed, it resembles surreal train tracks, running into the horizon. Flowing throughout the book are two lines, mapping our elevation over distance and over duration, captured via a iPhone GPS / Altitude app. They stream through notebook scraps and photos, providing a locational narrative – we liked the idea of extending and distorting this digital data into an abstract visual, creating our own man-made skyline for the backdrop of the eBook.
Read Ancient Lights, City Shadows below, using our online bookreader, or download on Diffusion.
Selected by writer and journalist Bill Thompson, this eBook compiles three of Samuel Johnson’s essays in a slim, portable format; Rambler 2, pondering the nature of ambition and self-deception, Idler 48, in which he speaks of how we ‘play throughout life with the shadows of business’, and Adventurer 95, exploring the process of writing and original ideas. As Bill says, “They are the perfect refuge from the blogosphere and, since they require no external power, excellent for those long journeys when your laptop battery dies before you reach your destination and the only discarded newspaper to hand is yesterday’s Daily Express.”
A collection of 36 short stories by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), each an individual eBook, the tales in Beasts and Super-Beastsdeal mainly with “the presence or role of an animal and its relationship to the humans in the narrative, acutely dissecting their foibles and pretensions” (an exquisite summary by Giles there). They’re in a similar vein to Aesop’s Fables, albeit shifting the focus from the characteristics of animals as analogies for the noble ways people should behave, to the sharp satire of existing human behavior. First published in 1914, two years before Saki’s death, they can now be freely published, re-printed and read due to the expiration of copyright – generally 70 years after the author’s death in the United Kingdom. In this manner, older texts that might otherwise remain undiscovered by contemporary readers, can be openly enjoyed and shared through modern distribution models and publishing platforms like bookleteer and Diffusion.