I like my metal to sound dangerous . To me acts like Haken, Wilderun, Soen are mostly boring because they are not dangerous. It's too pretty, too finished and glossy. Many craft, much yawn.
Also: complexity. I find intricate and layered music often more interesting. I can sometimes appreciate the beauty of a “song” but on the whole I don't find that format very interesting. Like in a collage I like it when the seams are visible, when the underlying structure shines through. The constituent parts are showing, which can make it more work to identify the image/idea as a whole. But when it clicks, then it really clicks and I feel more connected with the vision from which the piece was created.
Using this preliminary reading list on Medieval illumination, I scoured the online inventories of second hand book stores and had a few books sent my way. And so I've been reading up on the history of the book, codex, manuscript. It makes for fascinating reading and looking. Seeing the endless combinations of script, drawing and decoration unfold within the new format of the page (papyrus rolls were the standard in Antiquity) is a uniquely medieval innovation in the visual arts.
Collage is one of the topics I did not get to expand upon in the Bildung 1 zine. Collages can be funny, weird, disturbing, all of the above at the same time. It's definitely a way of image making that is dear to me. Funny: cats of brutalism.
Calligraphy, printing things from the web & digital self-care
Much of the week involved finishing up my part of a new (art) zine exhibition @gahilversum. Keep an eye on that instagram account. As part of that I'm experimenting with calligraphy (again). Medieval Calligraphy by Marc Drogin is the go to for the how to. I find a certain style of decoration fascinating, in which the versals (decorated capital letters) get these very long and thin lines extending along the margins of the text block (example). My own initial explorations of this are in Calligraphic Space Ⅲ.
“naming your files and figuring out your digital organizational structure is self-care” – @johngold. One of the replies calls for “more binder clip hacks”. I’ve been using my own version of a hipster PDA the last few weeks. Mostly because I promised myself to never try, let alone pay for, an online task manager ever again.
This makes me want to play around with the cliché's in our collection. (can't find what the English word is for the metal plates that contain engraved illustrations for letterpress, in Dutch they're called cliché's)
I’m using tome for two sites because I’m very lazy and should not be trusted with running databases and real live Drupals in production. Security updates are a hassle for this designerd so they tend not to happen soon enough. Which is less of a problem when that insecure site is only sometimes running locally on just my laptop.
So, yay for Tome, which lets me keep using Drupal for its powerful content modeling and clicky tools for site building. Then export to flat html and upload that as the live site.
Even between content updates months may pass. Which introduces other types of insecurites:
Do I still know how to run, update, export the thing?
In the mean time, did I not break something in the required tooling?
Point 1 is fixed by keeping notes with my own step by step how-to instructions based on the tome documentation.
Point 2 though is more tricky. For as much as possible I keep using the MAMP Pro application to keep the basic LAMPP stack up and running. Sometimes that clashes with some of the commands that want to run their own webserver, but I can work around that.
Composer, Drush, Git, Tome itself are tools that are primarily operated through the command line. I’ve become accustomed to (I'm not scared anymore of) using basic commands to make simple things work. But that doesn’t mean I actually know what’s happening. So when for example Drush throws error because database not found, I have very little knowledge on how to fix. It’s tricky business trying out possible solutions found on stackexchange and the like. I can’t always tell how applicable a proposed fix is to my specific situation and it may even further break things?
I guess my main worry is that running Tome and it’s underlying tools directly on my laptop potentially makes things brittle.
Naming my abstract prints is hard. Sometimes a cool word seems to suggest a characteristic that resonates. Manifold, for example. Not exactly what I was looking for, but I remember seeing thesecrocheted manifolds in Helsinki some years ago.
On publishing: the main job last week was wrapping up my new zines and sending those to the printer. Now to reflect on the proces and get ready to share bits and pieces. More soon.
I put the zines together using mostly open source tools. Scribus for page layout. For photo editing a la photoshop, there's GIMP, but it's very clunky. Glimpse improves on it considerably.
Working on my zines. A 21st century European Bauhaus? Snow fight!
Nick Sousanics maps out a selection of books as a reservoir from which to derive his own course contents. I did a similar thing last year as a way to take inventory of topics and inspirations for my own artistic production. It's become the main structure behind one of the zines I'm finishing up. More on that once those are done.
I'm using a selection of blog posts I wrote on here over the last year. It's super interesting to see how those small pieces of writing connect with the visual work I produced.
Een term die ik tegenkwam in Umberto Eco's verzamelde lezingen Op de schouders van reuzen. In het stuk “Over enkele vormen van onvolmaaktheid in de kunst” parafraseert Eco zijn leermeester, de filosoof Luigi Pareyson:
“Omdat hij een hoofdstuk van zijn Esthetica wijdde aan opvullingen, dacht Pareyson blijkbaar dat structuur en opvullingen essentieel zijn voor het werk. Dat moest worden gezien als een organisch geheel waarin alles een functie heeft en in het voltooide werk (sterker nog, vanaf het eerste moment waarop het uitgangspunt het vormingsproces in gang zet) tout se tient, alles verband houdt met elkaar en wel vanuit het oogpunt van het organische ontwerp dat het werk draagt, van die “forma formans (vormende vorm) die er in het duister aan voorafgaat en het leidt in zijn ontstaan, en dan verschijnt als resultaat en onthulling van de forma formata (gevormde vorm).”
Cyptisch, maar het onderscheid tussen de vormende vorm en de gevormde vorm is een nuttig gegeven. In esthetica: is alleen de bloem zelf wat “mooi” is en de rest (steel, blad) niet? Maar ook:
Vormende vorm in grafiek
In de grafiek gebeurt dit heel expliciet: de graficus komt op indirecte wijze tot de gevormde vorm. De energie en aandacht gaat in eerste instantie naar de vormende vorm van de plaat, het zetsel, de stempel (matrix in het Engels).
Vormende vorm als thema
Daarnaast is de vormende vorm, de vormende energie, de vormende kracht een belangrijk thema in mijn werk. De onderstroom van waaruit de gevormde vorm kan ontstaan. De infrastructuur van het onderbewuste. Vooral in mijn abstracte etsen is het onderwerp en de aanpak gericht op het in beeld (in kaart?) brengen van de vormende vorm zelf, de onderstroom van het potentieel.
In de steigers zetten
Maar ook vormende vorm als een manier om “in de steigers zetten”. De wellicht onzichtbare onderdelen die (ook) nodig zijn om de gevormde vorm te kunnen tonen.
(In complexe vraagstukken: scaffolding around coherence towards entanglement across all levels of the system, but that's another post.)
Spent quite some time this week sorting brass lines in type cases and books in the library of the GAH printmaking studio. Making time for the mind to do its own background processing. Quite the week, huh.
More medieval goodies: the Vatican is digitizing its library: https://digi.vatlib.it/. Good resources for the calligraphic explorations I'm currently working on. Started re-reading Maerlants Wereld.
About those silver engravings, this is where the intaglio/etching technique has it's roots. At some point someone found out that if you rub an engraved plate like that with ink, then remove it again from the top surface, this leaves ink only in the grooves of the engraving. If you then put a piece of paper over it and press really hard, the image on the plate gets transferred to the paper.
A beautiful web essay on easy to create newsletters and hard to build websites. Ease of use for creation, ease of discovery for consumption and straightforward payment options are all available for email, less so for websites. “Instead, I see the web as this public good that’s been hijacked by companies trying to sell us mostly heartless junk.” But it could still be done and would still be worthwhile. I.e. here's a service that turns a folder with files into a blog: https://blot.im/. RSS could still be the browser's built-in notification system for new content. Payments still need work.
Started following @typographica on the twitter this week. Started looking at some of the serif fonts reviewed there. Brabo looks very nice*. Equity has been my workhorse serif so far. Brabo would make a good addition, a bit roomier and with more flair. Pensum is nice too, but I can't get past that lowercase e.
Somehow really glad about the happy ending of the Queens Gambit, which we watched with the whole family.