Alphabeta Concertina, 1983

RON KING

100GSM Heritage book paper, silk screened heritage boards.

It may seem obvious but I always find it worthwhile to state the obvious, books are solid, they occupy three dimensions, they occupy space.

The folding letters within this construction occupy their own spaces, and are animated by the turning of the pages, or the expansion of the concertina. They are created from simple geometric forms, coming to life briefly as the pages are turned, then collapsing in on themselves again...

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RON KING

Alphabeta Concertina, 1983

100GSM Heritage book paper, silk screened heritage boards.

‘It may seem obvious but I always find it worthwhile to state the obvious, books are solid, they occupy three dimensions, they occupy space.

The folding letters within this construction occupy their own spaces, and are animated by the turning of the pages, or the expansion of the concertina. They are created from simple geometric forms, coming to life briefly as the pages are turned, then collapsing in on themselves again. As many type designers have discovered, typography is not purely geometrical, and letterforms do not happily conform to regular shapes. These are suggestions of letters which recognise this. By creating dynamic forms from geometric starting points they utilise physical animation and distortion of shape to bring a humanist flavour to cold geometry.

A tactile viewing experience of this kind can not be replicated in digital space. Whilst conventional publications may have physical 'presence', space in the digital world is virtual, and must be suggested in other ways. For all that, it is no less 'real' in other senses. Whatever you can visualise, you can create. It can exist. Virtual space, or cyberspace, need not follow conventional geometry nor obey any physical laws. Dimensions can twist and distort, gravity does not exist, boundaries are flexible and soluble, objects can relocate themselves in any conceivable manner. Physical attributes need to be programmed in, and thus are fully controllable, allowing language to occupy new dimensions.

Whilst this simple A to Z demonstrates the way in which the two dimensions of a paper surface can be extruded into a third dimension to create a distinct visual language, the concept is taken much further by the same artist, as he integrates physical structure and written text in the nine pop-ups of Bluebeard's Castle. See Language and Media.’

Malcolm Garrett

King’s fascination with and ingenious treatment of the alphabet manifests in something both familiar and mysterious. Although spurning much subsequent related work, in making Alphabeta Concertina King disclosed that, “This proved to be the most difficult production that I have ever undertaken”.

The alphabet is the essential ingredient of the book-making recipe. Formed by Ron King in 1967, the output from Circle Press has included various representations and explorations of this familiar, everyday and essential set of standard letter forms. www.circlepress.com

 
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