BookLab at Fahrenheit 39

In March 2015, Greyscale Press was invited to provide a workshop during the Art Book Fair Fahrenheit 39, in Ravenna, Italy.

During three days, six practitioners gathered to work on experimental book productions, both print and digital.

Some of the results of those work sessions:

308g, an ebook designed by Luigi Amato

308g, by Luigi Amato

It’s a follow-up to an earlier publication – VOLUME (2014)– that explored the parameters of a blank paperback print-on-demand volume. Here, the goal was to explore and play with the rules that applying to ebooks designed for consumption on tablets.

Luigi’s publication is tied to a single physical parameter: the weight of the tablet in the reader’s hand, in this case, the weight of the iPad Mini – which is precisely 308g.

In order to visualise this weight, Luigi gathered multiple pictures of physical objects that share precisely the same weight, gathered through web searches on ebay and other online marketplaces.

Update (April 23): 308g / 0.68lb is now available for free on the iTunes store. You can also see more documentation on Luigi Amato’s website.

Leviathan copypaste artbooks, by Federico Alessandri

Another item was produced by Federico Alessandri, who freshly graduated from ISIA in Urbino, with a thesis “talking about what is the book now, who is author now, and what is publishing, trying to consider the social aspects of the changing from monastic books to hypertexts, MUD and the other shapes”.

During the three days, Federico developed a fan-made artist book series, Leviathan copypaste artbooks – a book production workflow that creates an inofficial artist’s monography, by gathering and organising a complete set of information through detailed web searches: bibliography, descriptions of works from the artist’s website, reviews from art journal, blogs, interviews…

The first book in this series – amounting to 176 pages – concentrates on the work of prolific media artist Joseph DeLappe.

Leviathan copypaste artbooks

A single prototype was printed and hand-bound by Federico. You can order print-on-demand copies using this link.

Other projects that were sketched or advanced during this workshop:

  • Marco Pascarelli, founder of publishing house Edizioni Grenelle, worked on Petrol_io, a multi-layered essay centered around the oil wells in the area of Basilicata, with connections ranging from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Pasolini.
  • Photographer Simona Di Meo worked on a publication by  that documents her research project La Collina dei Ciliegi (see some images of the exhibition shown in 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography).
  • Social designer  Teresa Palmieri worked on a book that questions location and disorientation, somewhat in reaction to the Flaneur Society’s “Guidebook to Getting Lost“, that adapts the situationnist practice in a too simplistic manner.
  • Michele Gelli, founder of publishing house Narrattiva, worked on a new book devoted to experimental roleplaying games.

Finally, a production by Greyscale Press has been carried out on Sunday 8th March, and reached alpha beta status (you can already order it here).


Manifestos for the Internet Age is a reader that collects manifestos of computer culture, starting with Ted Nelson (Computer Lib), through the GNU Manifesto and the Hacker Manifesto (1986), up to current influential positions such as The Cult of Done, the Cryptoparty Manifesto, the Critical Engineering Manifesto (Oliver, Savičić, Vasiliev), and many other writings from both artists and activists.

This book was built using MarkDown, Pandoc and TeX (check out the source files on GitHub) a combination that I encountered during the workshop held in May 2014 by John Haltiwanger and Eric Schrijver, at the Off The Press conference.

All in all, it was a highly productive experience. Big thanks to all the participants, and to the organisers of Fahrenheit that allowed this to happen!

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