Categories
the periodical

Field Work, a project for the Periodical

For a decade or so we’ve been designing custom notebooks and sketch books for use in projects and workshops – for individuals, groups of participants, communities and some just for anyone who wants to use them. There’s a small library of ‘eNotebooks’ on Diffusion – many by us and some by others (see below and/or click for an example by architect Rob Annable).

Next month I’ll be travelling to Papua New Guinea to share my experiences of using our hybrid digital/paper notebooks for recording and sharing Traditional Environmental or Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Never having worked before in such an extreme climate (Tropical jungle) and in such a technologically remote setting, I’m hoping to learn more about how effective they may be and how much we’ll need to work around them and other constraints to make something locally-specific yet useful and replicable. Right now I’m experimenting with printing eNotebooks on waterproof paper stock to take with me to compare with standard paper stocks for durability and effectiveness.

All this preparation for the PNG trip, along with conversations with my old friend Brandon LaBelle, who was in London recently to teach on this year’s Field Studies summer school, has made me revisit some old concepts and plans for Diffusion Series and dust off one of them. I have also been looking into the remarkable and inspirational Sketchbook Project organised by Art House Coop in Brooklyn, NY to push my original ideas further.

A few years ago, I began to develop an idea for a series of Diffusion commissions that would take the form of a designed eNotebook being given to a number of participants who would be asked to use it to conduct and record field work according to their profession, practice or discipline. Their investigations might be around place, a subject, a process or a community – whatever they choose.
This idea for a series remained a series of sketches and notes as my ideas at the time morphed into the City As Material series of events and collaborative eBooks of Autumn 2010 (and following series). However, with my own imminent PNG field work about to take place and being in the midst of thinking about the nature of what a field notebook or sketchbook might be, the idea has returned and seems highly relevant to the concerns of making and sharing – public authoring – that are driving the ideas behind the Periodical.

Thus Field Work has formed as a new and discrete project that can exist within the framework of the Periodical – each subscriber will receive a blank Field Work eNotebook of their own to record an investigation of their own in (should they chose to do so). All completed eNotebooks sent back to Proboscis will be digitised and made back into eBooks that can be read and downloaded from bookleteer. Depending on how many we receive back, we will select and print someone’s Field Work eBook to be sent out to subscribers as part of the monthly issue – perhaps 2 or three times a year.

Why do this? There is an enduring fascination with the notebooks and sketches of artists, writers, scientists and composers etc – we see this time and again with our own modest eNotebooks for projects which take something unique and handwritten or drawn and make them into ‘shareables’, where the trace of the personal is directly communicated in the digitally reproducible. So much can be appreciated about creative process and intentions from the scribbles as well as the precision of thought, eye and hand that simply evades a ‘finished’ book, typed and formally illustrated. I think that the Periodical and bookleteer both have much to offer not just as a mode of production and dissemination of designed publications, but also as a means of sharing creative process in the raw.

When I first began the long journey towards building bookleteer, back in 2003, we built a rough working prototype of what we called the Generator. I was asked to give a presentation about my concept of public authoring at a symposium held at BT Labs campus, Adastral Park, near Ipswich – People Inspired Innovation. I presented our work on Urban Tapestries alongside the first test eBooks made with the Generator, and suggested how we might in future link them to enable both the sharing of local knowledge and data on mobile geo-annotation systems with physical outputs. One result of this presentation was a series of discussions with anthropologists Genevieve Bell (feral data) and Ken Anderson at Intel Research on how it could be used as a tool for field research : quickly capturing and sharing field work as it happens. Years later I actually got to explore this idea with James Leach when invited to help with the Melanesia Project at the British Museum.

So, working towards a very simple initial template for an eNotebook (i.e. not so highly focused as with some of the ones I’ve designed recently, such as the Soho Food Feast We Are All Food Critics notebook or one I designed for Tim Wright & Joe Flintham’s The Haunter Field Trip) we will send out a printed copy to each subscriber to take part in building up a library of field notes and sketch books. I am also thinking that some field studies and trips – extending the work we’ve done with City As Material – may also form part of this project and would love to hear from anyone interested in taking part or helping organise some.

Categories
inspiration

Pop-Up eBooks: ‘Tangled Threads’

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.

Categories
help & guides making sharing updates & improvements

Easy peasy way of making A4 & A3 StoryCubes on any printer

Recently, we’ve discovered a very, very simple way of making your own cardboard, hard-wearing StoryCubes, using only:

  • A free bookleteer account

If you haven’t signed up for a free bookleteer account yet, do so here.

  • A4 single label paper, suitable for Inkjet or Laserjet printers

Full sheet label paper, available from any decent stationers (Avery code: DSP01).

  • Blank StoryCubes

Read about StoryCubes, and order blank packs here.

 

Firstly, design your StoryCube.

Sign into bookleteer. If you’re a new user, read the help page.

Design your cube using the bookleteer templates, export the file as a PDF, then upload to the Create A StoryCube page, or upload each image individually.

Select Generate StoryCube and download the file, from the top right corner of the screen.

Next, print and make.

Print using the label paper, and cut around around only the faces of the cube, not the tabs – it should look a crucifix (You can also protect your cube by using adhesive cellophane, by affixing a layer on top of the label sheet, then cutting out).

Peel off the backing paper, and stick onto a blank cube.

Fold your StoryCube, and voila!

You can even use this method to make your own A3 size StoryCubes, without even owning an A3 printer.

Simply crop the A3 cube PDF into two documents, so that it can be printed across two sheets of  A4 paper.


Then, cut out the two segments as shown, to form a two-part crucifix shape.

Stick onto to a blank A3 cube and fold…

… and you now have an A3 cube, using a standard home printer.

If any bookleteers discover more clever ways to make StoryCubes, do share!

Categories
events

Upcoming Zine Fairs

I’m giving a shout out to two upcoming zine fairs, both held on the 25th of September 2011 – an unfortunate clash, alas.

“THE BRISTOL COMIC AND ZINE FAIR

When: Sunday 25th September 2011, 12pm – 6pm
Where: Start the Bus, 7-9 Baldwin Street, Bristol, BS1 1RU (map)

FREE ENTRY

The Bristol Comic and Zine Fair brings UK self-publishers together for a one-day market, offering a wide array of comix, zines and other alternative publications. There will be stalls from individual creators, and a communal table full of work from across the small-press underground.”

It’s run by Bear Pit Zine, who describe issue 1, “Upheaval” as a “collection of comics, narrating various disruptive possibilities, imaginations, and alternative futures for the city of Bristol.” This strikes a chord with the sort of themes Proboscis have explored in the past, and aim to do in the future. I’ve just ordered a copy, as we visited Bristol as part of the City As Material series – it’ll be interesting to see an insider perspective.

There’s also…

THE SHEFFIELD ZINE FAIR, at Brezza, 10-14 Wellington Street, Sheffield, S1 4HD, from 11am to 6pm. Get in touch via sheffieldzinefair@hotmail.co.uk.

Categories
events

Bookleteer at Platform Festival

We’ll be running a drop-in Bookleteer workshop at the upcoming Platform Festival, which celebrates the launch of Islington’s new arts venue for young people, held during the 15th to the 31st of July.

If you’re aged 13 – 19, bring your ideas and digital content – photographs, stories, text, art – on a USB key drive, or create a Dropbox account and share the relevant files, and we’ll sign you up to Bookleteer, help you create your eBook or Storycube, then print and make it, for you to take home on the day and share online.

We’ll be there on Monday 25th July,  from 2 – 4 pm, at:

Platform
Hornsey Road Baths
260 Hornsey Road
London
N7 7QT

Read more here. Hope to see you there!

Categories
inspiration

“False Dichotomy” by Junyi Wu

Whilst perusing Etsy for interesting zines, I was taken aback by the amazing False Dictotomy by illustrator Junyi Wu, filled with sombre, yet beautiful black and white artwork, paired with scrawled passages from the work of poet Emily Dickinson. The pen and ink illustrations of flora are set against sparse white backgrounds that highlight their delicate intricacy, occasionally clouded by expressionistic smudges. Junyi describes False Dictotomy as “journal-like” – the handwritten excerpts, complete with mistakes and ink blots, adds to this feel and gives the artwork, despite its still-life subject matter, an emotional intensity that is captivating.

Preview it here, and buy it from her Etsy store.

Categories
inspiration

Sketches In The City

An offshoot of City As Material, Sketches In The City is an occasional series of observational expeditions in various locations across the capital. Mandy, Radhika and I sketch, take photographs and write poems and prose to form a collaborative eBook with underlying themes. Focusing mainly on people and interactions in public places – places that shape, and are in turn shaped, by the people in them – we’ve produced two books so far, and are working on a third.

Sketches In The City was our first attempt, created as a result of visiting the busy Victoria and Waterloo train stations – places which reveal an interesting insight of the human character when bored or stressed. Highlighting the material we collected on the day, this tidy scrapbook was an playful experiment with little interpretation or narrative, letting us take the time to view hectic environments from a different perspective than usual and refine our creative processes.

Sketches In The City: British Museum showcases the unique architecture and exhibits in the British Museum, looking at how visitors observe and interact with them and one another, as well as their grasp on the intangible knowledge that exists amongst that which we can see and touch.

Read them on Diffusion.

Categories
inspiration

Typographic Paper Sculptures

I bring you another paper based marvel. Bianca Chang has crafted these 3-D paper sculptures of letters, laying subtly different HAND-CUT sheets on top of each other – no laser cutting or 3-D printing here. They have a marvelous depth that draws the eye in and around the texture created by the layering effect, which almost resembles reams of spun yarn – albeit knitted by M.C Escher.

 

Categories
inspiration

Paper Animations by Andersen M Studio

Andersen M Studio has created this amazing stop motion animation for Star Alliance airlines, using boarding passes that transform into a intricate paper representation of their destination, through some nifty cutting and creasing.

They’ve also animated scenes from Maurice Gee’s novel, Going West, using the actual pages from the book. This one beggars belief.

These remind me of Karen Martin’s previous posts that featured similar concepts, particularly pieces by Yuken Terya and Brian Dettmer. Oh, what humble paper is capable of.


Categories
inspiration

Print / cut / fold

In my last post, I looked at some of the innovative ways eBooks have been made, using a variety of materials. Today, I’m focusing on some interesting printing and layering techniques that I’ve found, in a bid to inspire budding bookleteers.

Xavier Antin has constructed an extraordinary printing chain made from a stencil duplicator (1880), a spirit duplicator (1923), a laser printer (1969), and an inkjet printer (1976) – spanning almost one hundred years of technology. Each uses a single ink from the CMYK colour model, which explains why the book printed through it resembles a series of hazy retro 3D images ; a disorientating, yet impressive effect.

Abigail Reynolds collages different images of the same building or scene, then cuts and fold’s portions of the overlaying paper to produce new representations with depth and occasionally dizzying perspectives. A similar effect could be created with eBooks, by printing on both sides of the paper, and manipulating the top layer. Getting the orientation right would be tricky, but the end result could be intriguing. Anyone up to the task?