Weekend links 248


The Dreamers (2013) by Kate Baylay, from Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen.

• RIP composer and musique-concrète pioneer Tod Dockstader. “I didn’t have the money for electronic sounds…I had to have things like bottles, or anything that would make a noise. It didn’t matter what it was; if it sounded interesting, or I could make it interesting, I’d go for it.” Geeta Dayal talked to Dockstader for Wired in 2012. Dockstader’s film credits included Fellini’s Satyricon and Tom and Jerry cartoons. He also wrote the story for one of the latter, Mouse into Space, in 1962. Ubuweb has some early Dockstader recordings.

• “…anyone who has ever sat in a cafe, or in the bath, with a paperback owes a debt to Aldus and the small, cleanly designed editions of the secular classics he called libelli portatiles, or portable little books.” Jennifer Schuessler on Aldus Manutius, and the roots of the paperback.

• “At Chernobyl, we made ‘the world’s first radioactive nature preserve.’ We made black rain. We made the Red Forest, which was green when the day began, and is dead.” Mary Margaret Alvarado reviews The Long Shadow Of Chernobyl by Gerd Ludwig.

Prison was often the fate of those caught circulating samizdat in the Soviet Union—not only the “high” samizdat such as Solzhenitsyn, but the crude and lowly joke books as well. The official rationale for the prohibition was in context no less reasonable than the rationale given more recently for condemning Charlie Hebdo or R. Crumb. There is always a perception that the very serious project of perfecting society is being undermined. But society will not be perfected, and it is a last resort of desperate perfecters to go after the subtle-minded satirists who understand this.

Justin EH Smith on why satire matters

• “You have to do your research, and you’ll find treasures that you couldn’t even have begun to sit down and draw until you saw them in front of your eyes,” says Annie Atkins, graphic designer behind The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Tales of Hoffmann: exclusive materials from the making of Powell and Pressburger’s masterpiece. The film will be released on Blu-ray by the BFI later this month.

• The illustrated score for Irma, the opera offshoot of Tom Phillips’ A Humument, is now available from Lulu.

Mellifluous Ichor From Sunless Regions, a free album of Hauntological electronica by The Wyrding Module.

Kraftwerk at the controls: what the group’s live instrument setup looks like today.

• Booze, Blood and Noise: The Violent Roots of Manchester Punk by Frank Owen.

• Mix of the week: 14th February 2015 by The Séance.

Vintage logo designs

Transmission (1979) by Joy Division | Radioactivity (William Orbit mix, 1991) by Kraftwerk | Bellstomp/Pond Dance (Mordant Music remix, 2012) by Tod Dockstader

Early Venetian Printing Illustrated


THE HISTORY OF THE ART OF PRINTING, studied in its most valuable examples, shows clearly how the work of the early printers took, from the very commencement, a national and also a personal character. These are recognised by the modern student in the special forms of type which they employed, and in the character of the ornaments and vignettes with which they decorated their editions; which thus formed, as it were, a species of art-work countersigned by the particular conditions of date, place and genius. Every early edition, with its various characteristics of size, type and ornamentation, is thus, not merely a trade specimen, but also an historical and artistic document, agreeing in character with the arts of design, the social customs and the literary tastes in vogue at the period in question. The early German printing, with its rigid and angular types and its Gothic ornaments, is perfectly suited to an age and to a country still mediaeval, and the Italic type of Aldus Manutius is equally suited to the calm and elegant classical character of the art of the Renaissance. Volumes with wide margins, large type and eccentric engravings tell of the pompous magnificence which found favour in the seventeenth century and of which that century has left so many specimens in our libraries.

Thus Ferdinando Ongania in Early Venetian Printing Illustrated, a tremendous collection of early print decorations, ornamental capitals, engraved illustrations and printers’ emblems. Ongania’s book was published in 1895, and once again the late 19th century is shown to be a fruitful period for this kind of early graphic history. A frequent frustration when searching through the thousands of scanned volumes at the Internet Archive is to locate plenty of books from a given period only to find that the illustrations or decorative material are sparse. Ongania’s collection dispenses with the text of the original volumes to present over 230 pages of graphics. Browse it here or download it here.






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