w/ Elisabeth Hinrichs, Aileen Ittner
Institut für Buchkunst
21,0 x 29,7 cm, 324 pages
Idea, concept and design of the publication XX- are based on a research project, which analysed the visual appearance of power in specific constructed signs under the conditions of the totalitarian NS-regime and the implementation of these signs on the typewriter as a fundamental communication system at that time.
The book XX- examines, from an artistic point of view, in three chapters FEMALE (FRAU), SIGN (ZEICHEN), MACHINE (MASCHINE) the way in which administration, communication and technology were an elementary condition of the functioning of the annihilation apparatus in the Third Reich.
The three chapters are supplemented by excursuses that deal with the concepts of administration, of human mass behaviour, of guilt as well as of the archive as a space of collective memory and of history.
The specific method of narration in the book is a deliberate uncommented constellation of visual and textual fragments. The textual fragments are composed of contemporary, philosophical, sociological statements as well as statements related to cultural studies and encyclopedic entries. The visual fragments consist of advertising and propaganda images of the thirties/forties as well as NS-files from the Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archives).
The fragmental sources build a tessellated structure. The content arises from specific constellation of statements as well from contrast and analogy of text and imagery.
In this way of dealing with history which makes its documents visible and discloses them for use, the book XX- affords a possible interpretation of historical processes without limiting the reader to a singular and defined annexation. By this structure he or she is requested to take a his/her own position towards history by valuating and analysing the sources independently.
The book XX- is composed as a hybrid of a file and a book. The design adopts technics of archival storage, such as registration, catchwords, numeration and categorization. These elements form a visual structure of reading and orientation throughout the book and combine the textual and visual fragments towards an own ‘fictional’ archival inventory.
The combination of a swiss soft cover, an open spine and a cloth binding add an object-like character to the book. The marking colour orange structures the book, makes connections with regards to its contents visible and highlights individual documents.
Visual language, analysis of imagery, interpretations of signs and symbols as well as constellation, composition and structure are used as design strategies to specify and valuate the material and visual substrate of history. The ‘designed’ book is seen as a possibility to ‘write’ an archive, which acquires, interprets and exhibits history. Therefore haptics, visual and material appearances are important for the personal annexation of the book.
The archive and literature, as constantly changing spaces of writing are sources of the material. XX- is an experiment to read history from a multi perspective point of view. The reader is seen as an equal actor who is confronting his/her knowledge and associations to the composed content.
Zeitgeschichte Tage, May 25-28, 2010, Vienna
Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, May 29, 2010, Vienna
Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, February 4, 2010, Leipzig
Best book design from all over the world (Goldene Letter), International competition, 2010, Stiftung Buchkunst, Frankfurt am Main/ Leipzig
Certificate of Typographic Excellence, Type Directors Club, 2009, New York
Sächsischer Staatspreis für Design: Highest award, 2009, Dresden
Förderpreis für junge Buchgestalter, 2009, Stiftung Buchkunst, Frankfurt am Main/Leipzig