Lost Grids Update 1: Hex Books

Tinta Invisible edicions , El Raval, Barcelona

Tinta Invisible edicions, El Raval, Barcelona

Work in Progress (Fall 2018)

In developing my Lost Grids last Fall, I got generous assistance from Hewlett Packard (Roberto Sarasa and Eduardo Fuentes, HP Sant Cugat del Vallès), who test-printed early trials of the grids leading up to my work-in-progress exhibition (December 2018-January 2019) at WTA. These prints were made to scale, conformed to the golden proportion, and laid down on transparent polycarbonate sheets. The collaboration with Roberto (and Eduardo) was a big pleasure - discussing materials and processes, seeing the various tests printed, and getting a glimpse into the R&D department. It was helpful to see my work on transparent surfaces - relating the grids to an idea of transparency, the window, the perspective machine, and so forth - even though ultimately my choices didn’t convince me.

Example of preliminary Grids printed onto polycarbonate sheets. Left: < 000_Marx’s_Beard >. Right: < 005_Portolan Orifice >.

Project Update: “Hex Books”

I’m now looking into the idea of making a set of books for the Lost Grids. Each book would contain the entire underlying hexadecimal code of each grid (up to 600 pages of code per grid) along with the grid print, production materials and artist statement. The beautiful stream of hex code would present page-by-page something approaching an extended series of individual drawings whose patterns ebb and flow between the readable and the visual, between letter/number and texture. My interventions of semantic language into ASCII code would remain essentially untraceable in the pages of hexadecimal code. At the same time, theoretically, a reader - who would (granted) have to be a little nuts - would be able to retrieve the elements of the intervention by scanning back the pages with OCR into a digital file and then by pasting the hex code into an ASCII converter. Theoretically, this ambitious reader could also reproduce the colorful grids using either code series.

Last week, accompanied by friend and artist Werner Thöni, I visited Tinta Invisible edicions, a bookmaking studio in El Raval to discuss options. I presented an early test-print of the book body, which I brought with me, and we discussed a few options. At this point, I’m now leaning toward printing the hex code on newsprint in an unbound form. (See photo below - I love its simple elegance). The stack of printed pages would then be wrapped loose-leaf with a textured cover and stored in a custom handmade box (enclosed sleeve). The color portions (grid print and intervention materials) would be printed on a finer paper stock, along with an artist statement, and made into a separate booklet that would accompany the collated pages of hex code.

Initial test print of “hex book” for the Lost Grids. Sample pages of < 001_Arrival_of_the_Train > laid onto A4 newsprint sheets.

Following the meeting, the Tinta Invisible designer emailed me some additional samples of box and book designs, which I’m now reviewing. Updates to follow.