Sydney Book Art Group, of which I am a part, has an installation this week at Walsh Bay, Piers 2 and 3, as part of the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival. ‘Lifecycle’ consists of roughly 750 pages of ‘reborn text’ hanging from a Hills hoist and is the backyard component of the encompassing theme of rooms — there’s also a reading room, lounge room, kitchen and a viewing lounge. As a group we meet on a regular basis to discuss and share our work but this is our first collaboration.
One of the great benefits of being a book designer is the exposure to varied and interesting subject matter. During the course of a project, especially one that takes several months, you can become submerged in the text and images to such an extent that you turn into a temporary expert in the field. It wears off after a while and you forget the names of rare cloud formations, how to identify a tadpole species, the complete history of polar exploration or the difference between a chugger popper and a bibless minnow. However, half a dozen volumes on astronomy later, I am left with an enduring (if less than expert) interest in the night sky. Last year I visited Mauna Kea and the Keck Observatory and was surprised, and a little thrilled, to see in use a very well-thumbed copy of one of ‘my’ books. This week Keck has announced that astronomers have discovered rain falling from the rings of Saturn, which is pretty exciting and brings back all the wonder of seeing Saturn through a telescope at the best stargazing place in the world. Oh, and the typeface, Saturn Return, is from Dinctype.