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-1INTRODUCTION -2THEORY The Future The Book Context

-4REMEDIATION Resolution


In The Penal Colony -3PRACTICAL WORK Story Analysis



Reading looking

Information tactile.





become become


(Gerritzen 2011, p.1)

Can of




Kafka The

Colony Be



Concepts by In Franz The

I could not have imagined that the above question would have become as complex as it eventually grew into. It appears on the surface that it should require a fairly simple method. I transformed the text from into an object of desire by interpreting the being in the custom of a standard book text directly into the design, incorporating tangibility and visual senses to lift the book away from just a process for carrying

Communicated Thus Form Creating of its of

the A

Through Visible

Visually Book,



content, with some interesting outcomes. What started me off with the journey into future of the book. It is a very contemporary

this project is a concern of some kind for the topic that possibly even too many people are Design Now in Production

writing about as is suggested in Graphic 2011, p.59). Everyone is thinking about it, contemplating, guessing - trying to foresee (Lupton

the future. Of course it is a popular question as books are fundamental to our lives and it is an exciting thought to discuss what the future

project was not to take sides on the superiority

of either medium, but to purely explore the In order to make any practical investigations I chose to work on the short novella by Franz of hidden meanings, the skillfully written Kafka called In the Penal Colony. Full story leaves the reader feeling possibly in human values and ethics. I read the story

of books will hold. This however is impossible to know, such is living within the present, but to fathom. The future flows from the present but it is not dictated by it. I dont expect to predict the future but I wanted to explore that doesnt make it any less interesting to try

strengths of the printed book and its form.

the ideas and try stretching the possibilities

contradiction with himself questioning basic numerous times and studied it extensively solution and reaction to the

of the book in todays ever changing world. The project took on a course of its own and

in order to later create an informed design

I just tried to keep up with its naturally appearing direction. I ended up exploring the form of the book and the opportunities and


qualities that are impossible with its electronic counterpart. I am not against e-books, iPads or Kindles; in fact I even own a now outdated version of the latter. The intention of this


2 O R



The pace of communication in the modern world is quickening like never

and as technology gains more and more momentum, more becoming visually literate. The problem now and more people are


within the film. This is now hard for us to imagine as we are used to Hollywood action films that dont use frames lasting more than videos on MTV could not change any faster

three seconds, and the frames in many music or the eye simply wouldnt be able to register them. This advancement has happened in continuing to advance with increasing speed an extremely short space of time and is in many areas of life (Carriere 2009 ,p.41).

is that people are learning how to work this new advancement alongside older, more tried and true ways of communication. Therefore there is currently a struggle to find the best

medium for common use, paper books and brawl, with music and film having similar and practically to modern

electronic books being a large part of this issues cleanly converting ethically, artistically


Still in 1907 or perhaps 1908, when the camera needed a special person called the explicator to stand next to the screen, point and carry out a live commentary on what was happening

angles in the cinema started to vary, people

Amazon Kindling



The for

mainstream the more





be met by new inventions, recover quite its the dignity the book will and




a u t h o r i t y. We h a v e n o t y e t where reached young competitors, point

such as radio, cinema, etc., have taken over functions from c a nt the afford book to that it









Paper books have existed for centuries around up until early 20th century, the main source

the world and are still in great use. They were, for understanding. However electronic devices are rapidly taking over the role paper books once had. Electronic book readers (e-readers) at a faster rate than by standard paper in seconds. E-readers are a lot lighter and

in information at a faster rate, interpreting images and skimming information like no one could have previously predicted. Technology

has changed the way we absorb information. The publishing industry has to adapt to the readers needs and possibilities. More and on to their reading devices instead of buying more people are downloading books straight physical copies of the books. This is faster, cheaper, more convenient and takes little to no space. It is exactly these reasons that make the

allow us to read and receive information communication as they can be downloaded more transportable, the text size and style can

often be changed at a click of a button to suit on multiple platforms (eg. from e-reader to computer) opening from where you previously

the reader and the books often can be read

printed book more special and valuable. I have even personally noticed an increase of carefully designed books in common bookstores like Waterstones and Foyles. The book is becoming an object of desire not only for its content but Due to the shift in exchange of information

left off, as well as being read on the same of which all allow for a more instant delivery

platform where other tasks are carried out, all of information. Partly due to this we have

also for its tactile quality, design and form. via modern technology, what is left out

become a visually literate population, taking

of the equation is the design of the book itself, as e-books often replace cover art (Carriere, Eco and de Tonnac and book design with ease of readability

that will lend itself more to the possession by triggering other senses within people that

of an item than just for the content within, can help to give an extra dimension to books.


E-books are probably better for instant communication solely via the text; yet often language and tangibility. The are miss out almost completely on the visual ebooks that make use of this new medium, for example the enhanced version of Alice in Wonderland available in Apples iBooks, however it is still screen displayed and has no tangible quality. For this reason, it is all the more important that a big re-design is carried out on physical paper books, filling in the gap e-books have now left. Books now need to go beyond merely delivering content alongside a simple cover. If paper books want to keep up there needs to be a stronger change, and one some

Designers we must

storytelling. The elements master are not



the content narratives but t y p o g r a p h y, c o l o r, weight, line, We

the devices of the telling: contrast, etc. our

scale, speak



literally between the lines.





To begin my research I studied the visual

grammar of books, concentrating on books where design plays an integral part of depicting

other projects that seek to make the grammar

with high levels of graphic design intervention, the story. I thought that I wanted to create something similar, but soon realized that for a parts, the designer has to work in collaboration book where the content and design play equal with the author or be a writer himself. Many Foers novels and books published by Visual

of the book speak in unconventional ways. There are infinite ways to tell the same story, exercises in style by Raymond Queneau being an excellent example of this. It is the designers communicate the main ideas. There are many reasons for choosing to create a book with design intervention as extreme as I ended up producing. I hoped to not only have personal

role to figure out the most appropriate way to

extremely successful visual books such as J. S. Editions have been created in this way. It

would be fantastic if one day I could embark for now I needed to learn about the visual

gain through research and practice but to appeal both to other designers, existing Kafka readers and even attract a new audience to the hugely important Modernist, existentialist The unusual look of the pieces I created can writer of the early 1900s and the novella itself. be attractive to any visually literate people and

on a journey like this with an author, but grammar of these highly designed books

and practice my skills within that medium. Before starting on my own experiments with the book I carried out extensive research on

especially those interested in fiction writing.

By arranging the piece into a new form a new

kind of audience can be aroused to read the the books. Current Kafka fans will hopefully already understand the reasons for the chosen manifestations of the story and be able to have

p.94). Design intervention in the layout of a

novella intrigued by the initial appearance of

page is inevitable but the extent of it is up

to the designer. There are numerous books where design supports the text and even enhances the reader experience. Childrens

a new experience in reading the story visually

books often use design to further involve the

and translating each design decision in relation

child in the story and aid its memorisation. This type of intervention is not new in adult literature either and recently it seems to be growing in popularity. It is seen in everything

to the text. The objects created are ones to respect, cherish and contemplate on. They aid in understanding the underlying themes of the novella by reinforcing them and informing

the reader of their existence through design. Approaches and ideologies on the rules of

ranging from books on design fiction, nonThe levels of intervention vary from subtle and near invisible to extremes, even creating to work hard in order to read or even decipher ergodic literature where the reader is required the text. The term ergodic was first used by Espen Aaerseth to describe the extranoematic aspects of reading that happen outside the

fiction and anything else found in between.

book design vary. B. Warde argues that to cannot be distractions and the design needs

allow the reader to enter book space, there to be transparent, acting as a window for

the reader to look through ( Warde 1955,

limitations of human thought. He describes

that, In ergodic literature, nontrivial effort text. If ergodic literature is to make sense as a concept, there must also be nonergodic literature, where the effort to traverse the text is

the piece I created has no actual text in it, the

is required to allow the reader to traverse the

reader / viewer has to engage with it in an unusual way. It places the raeder in a different line of thought. The reader can be an active part and a participant of the book. In cybertexts

trivial, with no extranoematic responsibilities placed on the reader except (for example) turning of pages.(Aarseth eye movement and the periodic or arbitrary

the medium is an essential aspect of the story. The importance of the medium is truly immense in design and culture. I hadnt given it much thought until I read the design rhetoric classic by McLuhan and Fiore, The of the first pages of the book Societies have

1997, p. 1).

His theories on reading are extremely valuable in relation to my major project. The notion of cybertext that he describes in his 1997 thesis

Medium is the Message. As is stated in one always been shaped more by the nature of by the content of the communication. This seemingly simple statement really struck me

have made me contemplate on the possibilities comparable to a game, where the reader or

of book design as a possible nonlinear piece, viewer is required to interact with the writing

the media by which men communicate than

in order to gain the desired outcome, which

as a complete truth that I had previously been is just as important as the information it

might also differ depending on the user as

negligible towards. The medium really often

holds and needs to be given the recognition

and consideration accordingly and as Newark states in What is Graphic Design, the creation of content is not graphic design any (Newark 2002, pg. 20). However this does

an analysis of its processes in unit one and

the beginning of unit two benefited my a visual form. The exploration of a translators

understanding of remediation of literature into methods and processes of managing the reader

more than acting is the same as writing a play not mean that the choice of content to this short story In the Penal Colony due to its length for graphic

experience enabled me to understand where to apply certain methods or bring in personal interpretations and apply these processes As the modern world is becoming extensively

project was immaterial. I settled on Kafkas strong typographic themes, and appropriate

into graphic design practice where applicable. visual in its communication styles, the people have had to gain acuity in reading these visual messages. Visual literacy is a necessary competency of members of contemporary society (Sadokierski 2009, p.15). Visual literacy has become intuitive and exploring


The general area that I worked in is from text to text and from book to book, it

remediation. Since the remediation happened is important to make the distinction of the do not confide with the basic rules of design

remediation. I explored the text in ways that as a pure means of framing information. An examination of translation theory and

that in the relatively new territory that I chose to work within felt like the natural step in In his article The Word Emil Ruder investigating the possibilities of these changes.

proposes, It is our task to give language

form, to lend it permanence and to keep it that way. We often do not realize that this task is only accomplished through the means of form. (Ruder 2012, p183) This statement created as the outcome for this project. There

a distinct purpose and are fully considered outcomes I had to be extremely aware that I am

reactions to the text. When designing the only remediating the content and not trying to make it pretty. Each detail was considered of the designer is not to satisfy ones own need the content provided. In this project I chose to approach design as an editor, selecting the in context and reflection to the text. The role for creativity but to work resourcefully with

strongly supports the set of books that was are however concerns in these types of highly designed books as the design can be argued to be more intended for looking than for

reading, thus stripping the integrity of the the two is fine and looking and reading share more there can be a danger in creating pure and more common

original text. Even though the line between characteristics,

core concepts of the story to express. The story

is another persons creative material, not mine. There are numerous works already created in this field and the design approaches vary from near invisible to extreme. One of the

decoration to frame the text, or even creating a purely decorative object when approaching design from such an extreme angle.

books I found extremely related to my project is Bloomfield an Elderly Bachelor written by F. Kafka, designed by John Morgan and published by 4 Corners Books. I even spoke

The books created through this project however are not purely decorative but serve

to Richard Embray from 4 Corners Books

about this publication and discussed research as well as reasons for the design choices made. The book is heavily designed without interference to the text and in fact aids reading

methods that were undergone for the design,

with its large margins, text size and typeface. The whole book is set in Walbaum, Kafkas preferred typeface. Most of the book was in fact created as a reaction to Kafkas design

preferences. After their extensive research at the British Library, it turned out that Kafka himself liked black books of a relatively small format and large text and margins. He had a

clear preference for the typeface Walbaum and it is even considered that he had written a short story about it, drawing parallels to the shape of its letters and the sturdy tree trunks in the

snow (R. Embray 2012, pers. Comm., 23 Sept.).

4 Corners Books - Blumfeld An Elderly Bachelor




The a

e x p l o re r, amount

protagonist of to


features whom a

worldly and



dignity is attached. Upon his visit to the penal colony of the an explorer unnamed meets island, with




f o r m e r,

the apparatus and the old C om m a n d a n t s The explorer the is present






r e g i m e .

because it is his charge to assess a execution

a n o f fi c e r a t t h e c o l ony s execution in device, The the to front of site, the execution of directly

to take place and to draw the retention or rejection of the existent conclusion concerning


few remaining followers of dedicated the old Commandant, has reinstallation himself

o f fi c e r,


a p p a r a t u s . one the


fully of



After the extensive research into book design, book publishing, the future of the book and its visual language, I dove in to Kafkas world and In The Penal Colony once and went on to

the condemned goes on living as before. After the sixth hour he enters a euphoric trance and stops screaming from pain, accepting and on deciphering the movement of the needle on understanding his fate. He then concentrates his body, as the sentence has not been disclosed

the novella I chose to work with. I initially read also read other pieces by Kafka in order to get and distinctive tone. I also read some essays

a feel for his writing style, reoccurring themes about the authors life alongside numerous

to him. The whole process of the execution is said to be extremely beautiful and as a reader you are made to feel this way too. Blood is reduce bleeding and the wounds are constantly cleaned using water from special

analyses of my chosen novella. The essays often concentrated on the themes underlying the narrative and studied the detached Kafkas

never visible as the skin is specially treated to tubes

style of writing and the possible reasons for it. The story concentrates on the workings of

attached next to every needle. (Kafka 1914) McGee writes that the story incorporates a vast array of religious, artistic, and philosophical elements and the popular critical analysis the old Commandant represents either the God of the Old Testament, those that subscribe

an intricate execution machine, referred to It carves the sentence of a condemned person

as the apparatus. By piercing with needles, into his skin over a course of twelve hours, eventually killing him. During the first hour

seems to be that the story is allegorical, where

wholly to the Old Testament but not the New Testament, or something else related directly to the Old Testament. (Fear and Trembling in the Penal Colony by Kyle

such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Karl Marx and Friedrich story Nietzsche logic (Alun




I had drawn extremely similar conclusions

conviction, and yet it also seems strangely familiar. Many similar acts and styles of torture have been and in some place still are ceremonies or rituals. I wanted to read the that, against all logic I was drawn to the




from the text myself upon first reading it. One of the strongest ideas in the text is the similarity between the Commandants and the Old and New Testaments. I believe the book is

carried out, many of them as a part of religious story over and over. I found it disturbing novella and ended up sympathizing with the cruel officer who enjoys torturing and killing people. Although I could not agree or support his actions, I sympathized and saw the artistic value of it similarly to the Traveller in the story. The officer believes his machine and the torture it carries out to be of great beauty a precious act that the condemned are even

a heavy, yet subtle statement against religion. It takes into consideration the poeticness and beauty of religion and existence of god, but still refutes it. This is supported all the more as Kafka himself was an atheist, in a time when atheism was a minority and

outspoken criticism of religion was frowned

upon. It was only in the latter half of the 20th century when atheism was given more support through free thinking Philosophers

lucky enough to experience. When he learns

that the influential outsider, the Traveller, feeling the beauty and impact of what he is

does not support his actions I nearly cry, denied. There are no rules in Kafkas world

and I had a lot to learn from him. I had to learn to have nerve, fearlessness and most of all calm. His writing demonstrates that and minimalisation can say even there is no need for complexity as simplicity Kafkas writing style became an inspiration


and a role model for me in its own right.








inscription six as hours


twelve hours. For the first man goes on living almost nothing two the before. but He pain. suffers the condemned





removed, for at that point energy man for has screaming. no more









To start on the process of design, I first reread

the novel and made mind maps for different aspects of the story. I wanted to get a clearer Idea the main thing I needed to communicate. All the research I had undergone made me too fearful to actually start experimenting and all ideas I had seemed to disrespect the author or the text. I didnt want to do anything to distract from the text and only wished to

begin anywhere, as this might be my last

chance for freedom in experimentation. I for experimentation, fun and seeing what

have always felt that the university is a place happens without worrying of failure. It is an opportunity to work and explore problems that arise and searching for solutions. In order

to ask questions a problem needs to be found. The way I ended up approaching the solution for my major project does not compete with the text but merely remediates it, similarly carry out with a given narrative. It is not

create the perfect crystal goblet that would put forth. Warde 1955, p.94). Even reviews

confide with the positions B. Warde had on experimental book design I had read scared me, paralyzed me and left me unable to start the design process. Reading essays by J. Tshichold, B. Warde and E. Lupton any distraction from the text was not worth made me feel like experimental design, and embarking on. However I later decided that

to how a filmmaker or theatre director trying to be the same text. The novel is great, modern, minimalist, horrifying and calm at the same time. I decided the design of my book should reflect all of that. The

I needed to take advice from B. Mau and

design reflects the authors intention. I am

merely a translator of the words into form.

Though the result might seem expressive, it is in fact a purely rational analysis of the text. Each detail is considered with great

that I found to be the closest to the way of

execution described in in the Penal Colony.

care and detail in relation to the novella. I did extensive research into the biblical themes of the novella, as they are a prominent part of the story. I researched the history of flagellation, mortification and other inflicted pain as part of religious rituals. I also read about different execution and torture devices and burning of witches, hanging, drawing and

not as directly associated with religion. Torture quartering and other forms of torture and

execution were all still justified and supported crowds, including children would gather to see enjoying the cruel justice being served. Slow slicing or Lingchi is a method of torture

by religions. As in In The Penal Colony the horrific executions, cheering and clapping,


In unit 2 I had started from the simplest

experiments I could think of. The first thing I did was set the whole text on one spread and the story. I looked at blocking out the text and looking at it as a form as well as reorganizing the text by character actions. After these quick only leave the most integral words for reading

experiments I abandoned the approach, as I didnt see it taking a valuable direction. I did however uncover some interesting aspects

about the writing style through this method.

I then did simple interventions into the

typography by overlaying it twice and shifting

From these experiments I produced my unit

it slightly, achieving discomfort for the

2 submission. The version was subtle with its

reader, similarly to what the story itself does.

intervention. The simply set text subtly, nearly

unnoticeably turned from black to bright red, symbolizing the gore and simplicity of the story.

After unit 2 I concentrated on research, much of which I have already talked about. I attempted to look at the story from a different

angle, dropping the themes of blood and ideas were also dropped very rapidly as I didnt I was overcomplicating the ideas and should novella, turning back to the topic of blood and

concentrating on the body and skin. These see how to take this further and realized that return to the more obvious themes of the hoping to also integrate the religious aspects into the experimentation. I tried smudging text on a page, paper marbling, dipping paper

into red ink and simply letting ink seep

through pages of a book. After conducting what I felt towards the novella. It was neither

these experiments I felt in contradiction with gory nor scary. It was detached and subtle.

I stepped away from blood and gore and wanted to find a simpler and

approach. This is when I stopped creating, being too uncomfortable with any ideas I had. I thought of creating a book in the form of a bible that reflects on the minimization of the


story by having only a few sentences per page, following the rhythm of reading, and having the rest of the page covered in holes. I soon realized this was once again overcomplicating a simple idea. This is however the idea

from which the outcomes then followed.

I kept dropping all my ideas and felt like I

was starting from scratch every time. At the

for the outcome of the project - piercing.

London Book Art Fair I saw a book about Lucio Fontana and his art philosophy of specialism. I got excited by these ideas and went on to experiment by making cuts, holes

and piercings in books. Again, something was not completely right but there seemed to be some rough integrity in the coarsely pierced novella is not making holes into the skin of the booklet. I realized that the machine in the condemned but small piercings, and this was

exactly why the latter experiment felt more of what the outcome might be, I nonetheless

successful than any of the others. Still uncertain still wanted to test making holes in Bibles in various ways using circular saws and different sized drills. Though interesting outcomes, they were less fitting with the narrative and were abandoned. I had found the main idea

I still felt unconvinced by leaving all text out

of a book and experimented by underlining

with pierced holes to restate the importance of generally used for pattern making to realize

the text. I used a needle pointed tracing wheel this and even though I managed to achieve a

relatively precise outcome, it was impossible to control with accuracy. For this experiment I also opted for subtle color to emphasize that the story, generally considered horror, was in

fact somehow quite light in feel. I also used

Bible paper to reference the Biblical themes.


I now felt confident that the approach of

piercing and treating the book as a human body is treated in the story was the right one for the of the textural narrative into the pure form far graphic intervention can go in order to resolution. I created a complete remediation of the book. The outcome demonstrates how add greater depth to a story, a counter act against electronic books and more modern forms of communication. The remediation

The remediation I created is designed as demonstrate the strong religious depictions

twelve books, shaped to look like bibles to within the book that the story hinges on. Each book portrays every passing hour that the condemned suffer. The first six books demonstrate the change in the condemned mans thoughts, as he eventually accepts contain thicker paper than the last six to

in this way tells the reader or viewer the core

his fate mid way through the process. I believe I have succeeded in using graphic design intervention in depicting

story using the form of the book as a form of

expression and separate medium of its own. The body of each book is treated like the

narrative text of In Penal Colony into the form of the book, expressing the minimalist qualities the method of the machine that lies at of the third person narrative,


human body. Each book represents one hour of the work of the execution machine or the apparatus, and in fact also took about one

hour to pierce. I took on the role of the officer

the heart of the story and the religious

in operating the machine with artistic integrity.

allegories that appear all throughout the text.



I created a bed of nails that I intended to press into books to create my outcome. However the experiment didnt work as intended and I was

unable to find a press that would be able to way to take the nails out. It is nevertheless an interesting looking piece that could

push the nails deep into the book, or even a

even work well on its own. I realized that

the piercings had to be created one by one.

I then adapted a drilling machine, in a sense recreating the execution apparatus from the novella. Instead of a drill I put in a needle that was thick enough to not snap when being pushed into the body of the book. The machine didnt require being turned on, as I didnt need a spinning needle, but I used the handle for for the book to be used for all twelve of them in order to get the place of the piercings exact

accuracy and force of piercing. I created a grid

each time. The twelve hours of the working of the machine were divided by the thickness of mm deeper for each book. As in the story, the the books, and so the needle was pushed in 1,5 first hour leaves the body nearly as before, but

by the 12th hour the person is killed and to

show this in the form of the book this is when

the needle goes through the book completely.


I wanted to retell the story the author

and truly visual side using the form of the

had intended by using a different media but at the same time keeping it within the media of the traditional printed book. I feel that what the reader, or more literally viewer, can get from this book largely depends to it as an object and how much effort they on the attention they decide to dedicate wish to put in to it to decipher what I and, from research, others find to be the strongest ideas and meanings within the story In The Penal Colony. As this is now a mixed media of sorts it allows the remediation

book to express meaning conveyed within the

text, making it an object of desire and value

to be appreciated on many different levels. The piece I have created is a stand on the importance and possibilities of the printed book against all that is lost with its electronic counterpart. It is able to express the tangible


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