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These three carnets are covered with a charming French design reminiscent of the wholesome 1950s. The three designs feature floral patterns, a feather quill and an early modern motif featuring school kids arranged as if they were players on a fuseball table.
I’ve been away a bit. I was in an accident and woke up in 1973, not knowing if I had travelled back in time, was mad, or was imaginaing all of it while in a coma. But i’m back now, and i’ve taken this fantastic little journal home with me, a relic from life on mars. The Formata Star Notebook is subtitled with the words “Lined Notebook Germany”. Presumably because Germany is synonymous with neatness, order, rules, regulations, rows, lines. The kind of country that will drill a bit of discipline into unruly kids from Guadalajara. For us in the anglosphere, however, the journal appeals more for its kitsch, retro verve – the kind of louche, incongruous style the hipsters ache for. Boldly designed, it’s a Bowie song about the Berlin Wall, or a disco tune for Chairman Mao, or a Kraftwerk piece about the Zapatistas down in Chiapas.
This limited-edition monograph of sorts was released to accompany Cerith Wyn Evans’ ICA installation a few months back. It takes the form of a clear plastic flip album inserted with photographs Evans’ took on a recent trip to Japan. The photos often employ displacement or elision, scenes seem to be cut in half, sun glare distorts the colours and pictures are taken at unorthodox angles and viewpoints. The incongruoux mix of chaotic urbanity and serene nature also provides jolts of discomfort as one flicks through the photos. The individuality of the images then, seems enhanced – rather than an objective record logically filed, the photographs are uniquely peculiar visions that express a singular subjectivity. In looking through this piece we use Evans’ eyes to look, and rather than fixing upon the objective world we are alienated by it. Instead, we are forced to focus not on what we see but the ways in which we see. The albums are signed and numbered by Evans on the backsheet.
These photo albums are wrapped in a soft fabric for a look halfway between a wallet and a moleskin journal. Suitably, these albums are small enough to carry around with you in your pocket or bag. They all come from Stacyhandmade, a designer/artisan who also makes wonderful, felt covered coptic journals in the style of the ancient Ethiopians or Egyptians, filled with smooth, sturdy handmade paper. The photo albums come in a range of covers, all possessing a stylish verve with fresh, pronounced colours.
Craig Atkinson’s limited edition run of sketch books is just about sold out at Cafe Royal bookstore near Liverpool, but there are still a few of these one-of-a-kind books available. Each book is a unique record of sketches focusing on the household, featuring TVs, Polaroid cameras, garages, games consoles amongst other things. The paraphenalia of domesticity is lovingly rendered, yet tinged with a comical irony that subtly distorts and estranges familiar objects. The detailing on the electrical appliances for instance, dates the items as slightly retro in our streamlined age, and due to the fine relief of graphite these details stand out vividly. That which once made an item cutting edge now historices not only the item but our relationship with it.
This may be the most important book you’ll ever read! I mean write! It’s a journal of handsome proportions and professional binding with a classical French cover design. If you’ve ever wandered past the bouquinistes in Paris you’ll know what i mean by French cover design, all french books look the same – sporting that cool, spartan, understated look. It was an idea of my Girlfriend’s to start a publishing house of books with this Francophone look, at least now she will be able to produce one book in that vein…