topographic or typographic

Not to get too bookish but I heard about the upcoming Jonathan Safran Foer book this week and can’t wait to check out a copy. I read his book “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” a few years ago and really enjoyed it. For “Tree of Codes” his upcoming release, I’m initially less interested in the narrative, but more in the sculptural quality of the object. The writers at Vanity Fair provide a nice review. I’m both baffled by the complexity of taking an existing book and cutting away selective portions to leave a new meaningful narrative while also maintaining the integrity of the book form. Pics from the publisher, visual editions flickr page are stunning.

And you know if you get your book reviewed by Olafur Eliasson you must be doing something right or at least interesting….

“[A]n extraordinary journey that activates the layers of time and space involved in the handling of a book and its heap of words. Jonathan Safran Foer deftly deploys sculptural means to craft a truly compelling story. In our world of screens, he welds narrative, materiality, and our reading experience into a book that remembers it actually has a body.” — Olafur Eliasson, artist.

I’ve had a little first hand experience trying something similar to this a few years ago with this project. The execution with an exacto knife and straight edge seems pretty clumsy compared to die cut slots and has gotten a little beaten up during the last move. It’s sort of a one liner but I’ve always thought it had a certain potency, or maybe its just the ominous quality of the electrical tape wrapping or just plain bad juju.

Although the deconstructed book seems pretty unique it immediately reminded me of Maya Lin’s recent work with the cutting away of map books that was part of the Systematic Landscapes show that toured a year or so ago. It was an interesting counter point to the monumental pieces and I liked the way it conceptually ties her site specific pieces to the museum work. It also seems shed some light on the analytical process of her work.

But a little more digging leads to Noriko Ambe a precursor of all of these works and maybe the most strange and grotesque….



About jim gerlach

A seasoned landscape architect living and working on beautiful Vashon Island.
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One Response to topographic or typographic

  1. Pingback: Manifestos | covering terrain

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