Category Archives: composition

Support de Fortune

[W]hat then, would become of it — this context — if transferred? — if translated? Would it not rather be traduit (traduced) which is the French synonyme, or overzezet (turned topsy-turvy) which is the Dutch one? 1

SdF-1aprilThis month, Kristien Van den Brande installed her research Support de Fortune in the vitrine of Recyclart, Brussels.

“How do supports of writing — a book or a single piece of paper, pencils, typewriters or internet pages — work on our thoughts? How do ‘chance supports’ (a train ticket, the back of an envelope, the margin of a book) challenge common ideas and practices of archiving, binding, displaying, reproducing, translation?”

With Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield, Nick Thurston we contributed artist talks and performative readings, adding to the rich collection of material (books, references, ideas) that Kristien had brought together. It was a welcome opportunity to revisit many familiar themes, an occasion for a re-take of A Romance of Many Dimensions and a first try-out of Technical Writing.

unfold, uncut

Designer Dick Elffers made many Versneden affiches by cutting and binding posters into small booklets:

Dick Elffers: Affiche Holland Festival 1962

Dick Elffers: Versneden Holland Festival Affiche, 1962

He enjoyed the surprising compositions that resulted from arbitrarily combining pieces of his work, ‘Le meilleur des mondes possibles’. But when I bring them up during the Co-positioning worksession (we are discussing ‘designing with imposition’, more about that later), GDH says: “Are you sure they are serendipitous lay-outs? What if Elffers designed these lay-outs as well?” Good question!

The trouble is, that I never saw these booklets in real life. De Stichting Nederlands Archief Grafisch Ontwerpers (NAGO) has apparently more than 20 Versneden affiches in it’s collection, but sadly published only two cardboard covers on-line:

NAGO inv. DE00347: Versneden weekagenda Boymans van Beuningen Rotterdam

Nago inv. DE00093: Boekjes versneden

I know about Versneden affiches from a reproduction in one of the first books on design I ever bought as a student1. I scan the reproductions to see if I can reconstruct Elffers’ method:

When I finish the last image, I realise Elffers could never have simply folded and stapled his posters. First of all, the NAGO-archive describes the booklets as ‘glued’, so there’s a hint. Also, if he had folded the pages and than cut them, at least on some pages the lettering would have been upside down. And unless the reproduction in my book was not complete, 2 pages are missing. I scanned 22 pages, and not 16 or 24 (can both be divided by 4). He must have cut page-sized rectangles out of his posters and than carefully arranged them.

Last test: Did Elffers leave any parts out?

Yes, he did. Some of the cut-outs were turned upside down, but none of those contained text. And he combined fragments from two differently sized posters into one booklet.

  1. Max Bruinsma, Lies Ros, Rob Schroder. Dick Elffers: Een leest heeft drie voeten, Uitgeverij De Balie, 1989