Reflections on The Ephemeral World, Part One: Ink
Half-size manila blank paper notebooks with "makeready" covers by Trip Print Press, Toronto
I was on a press check recently, deliriously inhaling the pervasive aroma of ink (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it) whereupon, feeling very virtuous and non-digital, I asked my pressman if there were any makeready sheets lying around for me to bring back to the studio? (Makereadies, for the uninitiated, are sheets of paper, re-fed into a press to get the ink balances up to speed, leaving a series of often random, palimpsest-like, multiple impressions on a single surface.)
He glanced over at me with a combination of bewilderment and pity, like I was some Rip Van Winkle holdout from, say, the days when you could fill your tank and still afford to buy a sandwich. Makereadies, he explained, were essentially unnecessary given the accuracy of digital presses. Plus, they messed up the plates and beds and rollers on the machines with, well, ink
While I remain deeply appreciative that the modern age has virtually eliminated the immediate need for wax and glue, I confess to a certain amount of personal mourning for the death of the makeready, and what it stood for.
Several years ago, an exhibit of the work of Ladislav Sutnar featured an assortment of his mechanicals
— layer upon layer of word and image, tissue and overlay, amberlith, rubylith, handwritten instructions to the printer, and more. Each layer, viewed separately, served to illuminate one aspect of the work; read collectively, these elements assumed a more cohesive identity, yet more than anything there was an uncanny sense of time and space reflected in the physicality, the depth of the machette...
Iron Man: The Screen Behind the Screen
Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man. 2008, Paramount Pictures. Photographs courtesy of Hollywood Chicago.
In Barry Levinson’s 1994 thriller, Disclosure
, Demi Moore plays a computer specialist who is sued for sexual harassment...
National Scrapbooking Day
Scrapbook kept by Frederick Nixon-Nirdlinger, Philadelphia, PA 1909. Special Collections, University of Delaware Library.
Today, scrapbooking enthusiasts across the United States celebrate National Scrapbooking Day
, heralding the meteoric rise of a pastime which has, over the course of the past decade, become the nation's fastest-growing hobby.
But what of the countless numbers of scrapbooks produced in the years preceding this booming trend? Herewith, an excerpt from my next book, which traces the history of scrapbooking in America during the first half of the Twentieth Century — a period that witnessed, among other things, the sinking of the Titanic, the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, and the advent of two World Wars. In spite (or more likely, as a result of) such hardships, people everywhere kept scrapbooks, filled to overflowing with things that mattered to them, fragments of visual evidence rescued from everyday life...