Monday, May 23, 2011

100 years at the NYPL, New York City

About a month ago, I got a call from a guy out in California(kiyash monsef), who told me that both himself, and game designer Jane Mcgonical had been asked by the NYPL, to organise an event at the library to celebrate their 100 year birthday reviewed here in the times

Jane and her team designed an interactive game, in which 500 participants would spend the night in the library, and use various new technologies, such as the web and smart phones, to create and write a book inspired by the libraries 100 or so objects on one of the gutenberg they have, malcolm "X"'s briefcase, various bits and bobs from kerouac.
This project was called FIND THE FUTURE

Aswell as writing the book overnight, kiyash had asked me if it was possible to create a book there and then, that would be available for reference as part of the nypl's permanent collection.
I was intrigued, but originally dismissive, as it seemed too bizarre to work...of course had i known more about jane and her work, i would have thought otherwise.
After some intial emailsback and forth i agreed to be involved, and spend the night.

The project had some major initial problems to overcome...
1.No glue could be had to be completed there and then , and look and function relatively like a book
2.No idea how thick it was going to be
3.Size not known until 2 days before

I decided on a wooden-boarded binding, with exposed sewing. After they were able to give me some idea of the no.pages(600) I was able then to advise them to use a thin 24lb paper, and to print in sections.
The approximate no. pages, and resulting thickness, presented a further problem....the fact that it had to last through continued I settled on a medieval structure similar to the one used by cockerell in his rebinding of the codex sinaiticus......It would look relatively bookish on the night...the boards could be prepped in advance, when they would give me the size, it would be covered later, so it would be strong and durable , and the style worked well with the historical theme of the project.

The night at the library was great, although the glut of material presented printing problems, so the book didn't get done, but I was able to explain as much as I could about the historical nature of the binding, and techniques used, and do some demos, so i was still happy to be there...After all , how many of us can say we spent the night in one of the worlds most important institutions

I am including a link to an article, written by my new favourite journalist and writer!!!
Elizabeth Kiem, is sharp and funny...

There is also a video recap of the event , if you blink you will miss me at the end!

you will find more photos on our facebook page