‘Books that can’t be printed’ – ISTD Brief

Editions At Play is an initiative from Visual Editions and Google’s Creative Lab.  They make and champion books that are powered by the internet.  They believe that physical books have qualities that don’t always transfer well to digital.  Their books show that digital books have narrative qualities that don’t always transfer to print.  Editions At Play is a space for books that can’t be printed.


Editions at Play is all about exploring the idea of “digital books” — not just eBooks, but books that simply can’t exist on static, printed paper.

For the ISTD brief you are required to choose a chapter from a banned book and visually interpret it as a digitally dynamic book.  The chapter should resonate with you for some reason or encapsulates what you believe to be its inciteful nature.  Consider how audiences of the book would have reacted to it when it was initially released.  What was or is the aspect of censorship at play?

Look to use the potential of the digital form to interpret your text.  Consider movement, interaction, reader behaviour and experience.  What can you do that would not be possible to do in print?

Ensure that your outcome considers the dynamic properties of the web and how digital provides you with an opportunity to explore narrative qualities that cannot transfer to print.  Your submission must engage your audience in new and exciting ways.  Consider how we currently engage with typography on screen and how you could possibly engage with this interaction in a different way – anything is possible.


Competition Briefs

I am unwell.  A quick look on WebMD has thrown up a few options – one of which is cholera.

Because of how unwell I’m currently feeling, I don’t think I’ve been able to make a proper decision about these competition briefs.  I worked myself into a panic earlier this week because I still don’t know which one I want to do.  There’s too many to pick from.  This is the University-set project equivalent of browsing hundreds of films on Netflix and then four hours later still not having anything to watch.

Initially I was really excited about the G. F. Smith brief for ISTD.  It sounded like the one that was most up my street – find a crafts-person, do some super in depth sketchbook work, journalistic style stuff, find out everything, immerse yourself, research (and more research), and creating some beautiful publication as an outcome.  This is what I wanted to do but there’s stipulation that you must know this crafts-person.  There is a family friend of mine who had been my Grampy’s neighbour for decades who carves traditional Welsh Lovespoons which I thought would be something wonderful to research, but unfortunately he passed away only a few weeks ago.

I then decided on The National Autistic Society brief for D&AD.  This decision was made in a bit of a cholera-induced panic, and the entire premise of the brief is to produce a film, and a filmmaker I am not.  I had great plans to animate some stop motion thing and it was going to be the most fantastic piece of animation the world has ever seen, then my health improved slightly and I realised that I can’t do any of these things.  Strike 2.

But then… Third time’s a charm because I read through all the briefs again and I’ve now settled on the Editions at Play: Banned Books brief for ISTD.  I’m an avid reader, and I’ve always been fascinated by books.  There’s something inherently beautiful about people reading books and peoples’ imaginations running wild.  It’s great.  I’ve got a few books that I know have been banned in various countries at various times, and there’s a few good’uns I’d really like to explore further.

  • Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll. (Was banned in some parts of China for comparing animals to people.  People objected to the animal characters being able to use human language. They felt this put animals on the same level as humans).
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell.  (Banned for more obvious reasons.  Bitching about Communism and totalitarian states wasn’t so popular in 1945 I guess).
  • Steal This Book – Abbie Hoffman. (Banned for more questionable things like advice on how to correctly roll a joint, make pipe bombs, and some bookstores worried that it would encourage shoplifting).
  • The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger. (Banned for references to premarital sex, violence, other naughty things, and a supposedly Communist subplot).
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey.  (Good lord this is a great book.  Banned for viewpoint on government force, and the questionable mental health of the narrator which was deemed inappropriate for younger readers).
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou. (Claims that it encouraged profanity and was filled with descriptions of substance abuse, sexually explicit conduct and torture).
  • As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner. (Banned in Kentucky for being anti-Christian.  Features an extramarital affair with a preacher, premarital sex, and abortion).

What a good list.  Who bans books anyway?  Don’t eat food you don’t like and then complain that you don’t like it.  Don’t read the book – I’ve solved this problem for everyone now.*

(*50 Shades of Grey was banned in some countries and good riddance because it’s the most unacceptable pile of nonsense to have ever existed and the people of those countries are better off without it in their lives).