05 December 2011

Suzanne Dean: the secret to a good book cover

Suzanne Dean designed the cover for the Man Booker prize winner 'The Sense of an Ending' by Julian Barnes. She talks about creating some of the most striking book jackets of the past 20 years.

To judge a book by its cover is so patently unwise that it has long been a metaphor for other forms of misinterpretation. But only a very naive author would suppose that the cover of his or her book was irrelevant. It’s the first thing we see, and there’s no way to make it entirely objective: a book’s cover offers an interpretation of its contents – some inflection, if only by its typeface or colour. And yet its effect on the reader is mostly subliminal. Book designers are the ultimate hidden persuaders...

Full article: Telegraph

25 September 2011

Reverberations: The Aesthetics, Affects and Politics of Noise

Edited by Drs Michael Goddard, Paul Hegarty and Benjamin Halligan is this groundbreaking collection that studies noise not merely as a sonic phenomenon but as an essential component of all communication and information systems. It's due for publication through Continuum next year and includes a chapter that I contributed based on my MA project. Despite what it says below, the title of the chapter has actually been changed to the simpler, perhaps more intriguing "Sshhh".


Noise permeates our highly mediated and globalised cultures. Noise as art, music, cultural or digital practice is a way of intervening so that it can be harnessed for an aesthetic expression not caught within mainstream styles or distribution.

This wide-ranging book examines the concept and practices of noise, treating noise not merely as a sonic phenomenon but as an essential component of all communication and information systems. The book opens with ideas of what noise is, and then works through ideas of how noise works in contemporary media, to conclude by showing potentials within noise for a continuing cultural renovation through experimentation. Considered in this way, noise is seen as an essential yet excluded element of contemporary culture that demands a rigorous engagement. Reverberations brings together a range of perspectives, case studies, critiques and suggestions as to how noise can mobilize thought and cultural activity through a heightening of critical creativity.Written by a strong, international line-up of scholars and artists, Reverberations looks to energize this field of study and initiate debates for years to come.

Table of Contents
The Philosophy of Noise

1. Paul Hegarty, ‘A Chronic Condition: Noise and Time’
2. Scott Wilson, ‘Amusia, Noise and the Drive’
3. Andrew McGettigan, ‘Noise, Affect and Experience’
4. Cecile Malaspina, ‘Simondon, Complexity and Organised Noise’

Media Ecologies of Noise

5. Dean Lockwood, ‘Mongrel Vibrations: H. P. Lovecraft’s Weird Ecology of Noise’
6. Khadijah White, ‘Considering Sound: Language, Meaning and the Construction of Noise’
7. José Castanheira, ‘The Matter of Numbers: Sound and the Experience of Noise in Analog and Digital Models’
8. Rosa Menkman, ‘From Artefact to Filter, or how Noise Artefacts have become Commodities’

Audiovisual Noise Aesthetics

9. Laura Wilson, ‘Physical Spectatorship: Noise and Rape in Irreversible’
10. Robert Walker, ‘Cinematic Tinnitus’
11. Benjamin Halligan, ‘Noise for the Failing Image’
12. Daniel Cookney, ‘Sshhh: A Visual Exploration of Relative Silence/Noise’
13. Felicity Colman, ‘Sound manifesto: Lee Renaldo’s Notes for Robert Smithson’
14. Rob Gawthrop, ‘Thunder and Lightning: Noise and the avant-garde’

Noise Ethics and Politics

15. Mattin, ‘Anti-Self: Noise and the Destruction of Managerial Logic’
16. Marie Thompson and Clara Latham, ‘Exploitation or Emancipation? The Affect and Ethics of Noise’
17. Saeed Hydaralli, ‘What is Urban Noise? An Inquiry into its Formal Properties’
18. Bruce Russell, ‘Exploding the atmosphere: Realising the revolutionary potential of “the last street song” ’


45g of Silence by Mads Hagstrøm

45g (1.5oz) of pure silence sealed in a can for just $19.14 at FLOWmarket. (The 'Next Generation Luxury' company also sells cans of self-esteem, compassion, intimacy and 'God'.) Design by Mads Hagstrøm.

There's an obvious nod here to Marcel Duchamp's Air de Paris ('50 cc of Paris Air') from 1919: something that I referenced in the Sshhh chapter of the upcoming Reverberations book.

09 August 2011

Webcam to show Central Library refurb live

From: Manchester Evening News

Book-lovers will soon be given an insight into the transformation of Manchester’s Central Libra­ry under plans to fit a webcam inside the building’s famous dome.

The live link-up will give a behind the scenes glimpse of the multi-million pound renovation work going on inside the landmark city centre building.

The site has been stripped of some one million books and closed to the public during a three-year building project. But testing has started on a camera that could be fitted inside the dome of the Reading Room – the library’s most famous feature – to allow visitors to enjoy a bird’s eye view of what is going on inside.

It is expected that images from the camera would be streamed on to the council’s website.

A town hall spokesman said it was an idea that was being explored by officers but was still in the early stages.

The city’s huge collection of books were sent into underground storage in the Cheshire salt mines last year to allow workmen to start on site. The salt mines are thought to offer the best atmosphere in which to preserve the manuscripts.

The redevelopment will see the 60m diameter Shakespeare Hall on the ground floor, currently closed to the public beyond the front entrance, opened as a ‘centre of excellence for archive storage’ and the book storage ‘stacks’ replaced with exhibition space, a café, research and computer space and an amphitheatre-style performance area for readings.

Webcam viewers will also see the floor of the domed Reading Room removed while work takes place, with an exact replica rebuilt afterwards.

The refurbishment of Vincent Harris’s circular building, completed in 1934, is part of the wider modernisation of the Town Hall complex and St Peter’s Square. Facilities will be brought up to date and the buildings’ listed features restored to their former glory.

As the M.E.N reported last month, the city’s famous Rates Hall will be among the architectural treasures opened to the public again following the work.

The stunning 200ft-long hall, which runs the length of the town hall extension and was historically where residents went to pay their taxes, will become a ‘one-stop shop’ for town hall services.

15 July 2011

Library launches "Europe's oldest book" appeal

LONDON (Reuters) - The British Library has launched an appeal to help it buy the oldest book in Europe, an "almost miraculous" survival from the Anglo Saxon period over 1,000 years ago.

The small volume was buried with one of England's most popular saints, Saint Cuthbert at a time when the country was being swept by continental invasions following the departure of the Romans, and despite its age is still in perfect condition with its original leather cover.

The Library is now just 2.75 million pounds from its target of 9 million pounds to buy the Cuthbert Gospel.

The book was loaned to the library in 1979 and has stayed there ever since but if the bid is successful it will stay there permanently.

It has also been agreed that if the gospel is purchased, it will spend half the year at Durham Cathedral, where the saint is buried.

St Cuthbert, also known as the "wonder worker of Britain," died in AD 687 and was buried on the Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne. He was widely regarded as Britain's most popular saint up until the murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.

When Viking raiders invaded Lindisfarne in 875, a group of monks fled, taking Cuthbert's body with them. After seven years of travelling with the body, the monks finally buried the saint again at what became Durham Cathedral.

The book was found with him when his coffin was reopened in 1104.

The book, written in Latin, is the Gospel of John. After it was taken from the coffin it was placed in a new shrine behind the altar of Durham Cathedral.

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England by Henry VIII in the 16th century, the text passed to a series of private collectors.

Chief Executive of the Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, said in a statement: "The St Cuthbert Gospel is an almost miraculous survival from the Anglo-Saxon period, a beautifully preserved window into a rich, sophisticated culture that flourished some four centuries before the Norman Conquest.

(Reporting by Sam Watts; Editing by Steve Addison)

23 June 2011

Kanazawa Umimirai Library by Coelacanth K&H Architects

"Reading – for the sake of knowledge or enjoyment, or to explore the world of the human imagination – is one of those experiences that gives you a sense of emotional and spiritual richness quite different from economic or monetary well-being. In this sense, the act of creating a space that surrounds you with books is undoubtedly linked to the creation of a new, enriched sense of public values...

...This library consists of a single quiet and tranquil room that resembles a forest, filled with soft light and a feeling of openness reminiscent of the outdoors. "

Full story: link

Photography by Satoshi Asakawa.

14 June 2011

Global Communication & Ken Hollings At The British Library

Link: British Library events / Link: The Wire

As part of the British Library’s Out Of This World exhibition, regular Wire contributor Ken Hollings will be performing with the Radio Science Orchestra, on a bill alongside Global Communication (Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton).

The Radio Science Orchestra is led by writer and producer Bruce Woolley, and deals in bringing vintage electronics together with conventional orchestral instruments. Also on the bill are Global Communication, playing live for the first time in 15 years, recreating their 1994 LP 76:14, plus DJ sets from Jon Hopkins and Rob Da Bank. Attendees are encouraged to dress in "sci-fi glamour", or at the very least, in something silver. London British Library, 17 June, 7:30–11pm, £12.50.

01 March 2011

Hoon Kim - 30 Beautiful Everyday Sounds

Hoon Kim
30 Beautiful Everyday Sounds
New York, NY: H. Kim. 2009

Synopsis: This collection of bold, black and white pixelated patterns was created using a system that translates sound into pattern, relying on pitch and volume to determine the size and shape of the pixels. Graphic designer Hoon Kim interprets 30 sounds, ranging from a baby’s sneeze and a ticking alarm clock to the sound of bread being sliced, or of silence.

Category: Book
Pages: 64 p.
Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth): 20.5 x 20.5 cm.
Cover: Paperback
Binding: staple bound
Process: offset-printed
Color: black-and-white

21 February 2011

09 February 2011

Casting Vinyl

This looks interesting and appears to involve some kind of latex mould. It was on Ffffound.com - albeit a Tumblr addition. Sadly I can't find any further information on the project.

20 January 2011

Ice Records by Katie Paterson

3 litres glacial meltwater, 3 litres silicon, 3 turntables [2007]

Sound recordings from three glaciers in Iceland, pressed into three records, cast, and frozen with the meltwater from each of these glaciers, and played on three turntables until they completely melt.

The records were played once and now exist as three dvds. The turntables begin playing together, and for the first ten minutes as the needles trace their way around, the sounds from each glacier merge in and out with the sounds the ice itself creates. The needle catches on the last loop, and the records play for nearly two hours, until completely melted.