Analogue Bodies

First edition:
Set of four digitally printed and hand-bound books, various sizes.
Edition of 1.

Second edition:
84 page full colour print-on-demand hardback
8×10 in / 21×26 cm
with supplementary booklet
‘Analogue Emails’
46 pages black ink print-on-demand paperback
5×8 in, 13×20 cm

WINNER: Best designed Independent Publication
Australian Book Design Awards 2015

For sale via Blurb books:
buy: Analogue Bodies
buy: Analogue Emails

Analogue Bodies,Vol. 1: Feet and Teeth is a collection of essays about feet and teeth by Tom Lee, materialised as an illustrated book by Zoë Sadokierski, using archival images from the public domain. The original edition is a set of five hand-bound books which were exhibited at the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne, 2014. The second edition is a hardcover print-on-demand book with a supplementary paperback booklet.

Tom: What was I up to, writing unprompted essays on feelings of the feet or mythological understandings of tooth structure? […] I was a writer, more specifically, someone writing essays with a commitment to the idea that poetic thinking is essential in providing things with adequate and lively histories. […] This series is an examination of the human body piece by piece, with each part spun through sequences of sentences and paragraphs.

Zoe: Tom’s essays connect things in unexpected ways. I find myself surprised, delighted, entertained, informed and inspired – all the reasons I read. When there is so much content flying around, how can we determine what’s worth making time to stop and read fully, rather than skimming or filing away for some vaguely anticipated later, less busy moment? I hope to attract more readers to Tom’s excellent essays by materialising them; giving them a physical form and extending them with images and extra texts. This is the best gift a designer can offer a writer whose work she admires.

Strange Synergies

Introduction to Analogue Bodies
Zoë Sadokierski, 2014

As Tom started writing about feet, across town I was mulling over hands. A few years ago I became obsessed with a chapter of Richard Sennett’s book The Craftsman about the ‘intelligent hand’ of the maker (e.g. carpenter, designer,  computer programmer). Craftspeople think through making; actively using our hands, we feel out how things are, and how else they could be — our hands tell us different things than our eyes.

Whenever I find myself frozen in a period of creative inertia, I return to the relationship between the head and the hand. It reminds me that favouring my head (thinking) over my hand (making) renders me immobile. I cannot plan out what I want to make in my head then simply execute it with my hand. As I begin to materialise ideas – sketching, collaging, designing on the computer – they invariably look different in the physical world than they do in my mind. At this stage of the creative process, my thinking has to progress while I’m making. My creative process is always cyclical: thinking and making, making and thinking.

Just as I was returning to hands, trying to feel my way out of a creative rut, Tom presented me with feet. Tom and I often find strange synergies in our current fixations. In 2012 Tom was writing about naughtiness as I was thinking about tricksters. I turned his essay ‘A poetics of the Naughty’ into an illustrated zine. Later that year, Tom was writing about burrs, burrows and barbed-wire as I was playing around with the link between paragraphs and paddocks (via Murray Bail’s novel Eucalyptus). We joined these sibling projects through a visit to Tom’s farm in early 2013, with our colleague Jacquie Kasunic. We spent a few days walking the paddocks, talking, writing, photographing and sketching, which resulted in an exhibition and book called ‘Words from the First Walk’ .

For Analogue Bodies, we tried a more cyclical collaboration, each of us thinking and making, making and thinking, inspired in part by what the other was up to. Tom moved from feet to teeth, and I started my own research into body parts. We sent each other emails and met in person to share our discoveries, driven by faith we’d end up with something like a book.

Tom’s essays draw upon ideas and writing from a variety of sources: contemporary philosophers, the NSW Department of Agriculture, anecdotes from friends. Likewise, my design draws together visual material from the public domain. Unless otherwise credited, I’ve sourced all the images that appear in this collection from on-line repositories or image archives, for example: Wikimedia Commons, Vintage Printable and the Wellcome Library. What the images have in common, other than relating to feet, teeth or bodies, is that they are royalty free, because they are either in the public domain – copyright has lapsed – or they have been made available under the Creative Commons licenses – the copyright owner has made them available to reproduce for free, with specific conditions. 

All the images related directly to, or argue against, the written text that they appear next to. Two visual essays (sequences of images, arranged to make an ‘argument’) are included in an appendix at the back of the main book.

I have manipulated many of the images – editing, cropping, colour correcting, collaging  – to make them relate to Tom’s essays and the broader project themes, and aesthetically fit in with the design of the book. Rather than hiding the image credits in a list at the end of the book I have made a feature of them, running credits alongside the images as captions.Noting the year images were originally produced and the name of the files can change the way we read the images.

As a professional illustrator, using sourced images is a new way of working. In this situation, I act as editor more than creator, which changes the way I respond to Tom’s writing – finding images that could expand or elaborate on his words, rather than imagining and generating them myself. Collaboration encourages risk taking. We dance around each other, trying to find a rhythm for this new work, both in the way it is created – when accustomed to working alone, collaboration takes practice – and in the way the two voices come together on the page.

Sam Twyford-Moore invited us to present something at the Melbourne Emerging Writers Festival, in June 2014. Tom finished the first two essays on feet and teeth, and I got busy book making. The main book produced for the festival has three chapters: our co-written introduction and Tom’s essays on feet and teeth. Alongside this book sit a collection of anti-chapters: a flower fold book, a concertina book and two visual essays in pamphlet form, and a book that documents every email sent during our creative collaboration. I made these experiments as a method of thinking-through-making. They are paratextsextra texts that belong to the main book like a shadow belongs to a body.

Later, I produced print-on-demand version of the main book which includes the two visual essays, as well as an edition of the email book. 


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