Imposition (a romance of many dimensions)

In the transformation from the un-dimensional space of a book as a data object and the four-dimensional experience of reading, there are many dimensions to be overcome.

Caption here

Imposition is the cartographic work of projecting multiple pages onto a sheet of paper, before it can be folded, gathered and bound into the correct order. This both prozaic and imaginative work ...

From this world to another

LibriVox Flatland

Caption here

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott. Writing pseudonymously as “A Square”, Abbott used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to offer pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture.

Gutenberg project
1971 Deliberate avoiding of fixity, of belonging to a medium spawned off many subprojects

33,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android or other portable device.

From the Gutenberg project:

anything that can be entered into a computer can be reproduced indefinitely … what Michael (Hart - FS) termed “Replicator Technology” The concept of Replicator Technology is simple; once a book or any other item (including pictures, sounds, and even 3-D items can be stored in a computer), then any number of copies can and will be available. Everyone in the world, or even not in this world (given satellite transmission) can have a copy of a book that has been entered into a computer.

[P 62]

Needs to be ascii!!


[RepRap Project, which aims at creating a self-replicating machine.]

Flatland: Ascii conversions // descriptions. Access to source code. Promiscuous culture of the book.
Obviously essential to have pictures

[P 62]

Caption here


How software imagines a book

Aldus Pagemaker: Page border

outsourced to panel

Quarkxpress: Page palette
Adobe InDesign: Page panel
Scribus: Arrange pages

Ward Cunningham, inventor of the wiki once said that If you can’t keep five things in your head at one time and make a decision, try keeping three things in your head.


Print Parties are irregular public performances we organise when we feel the need to report on what we discovered and where we’ve been; as anti-heroes of our own adventures we open up our practice in a way that seems infectious. We make a point of presenting a new experiment, of producing something printed and also something edible on site each time; this mix of ingredients seems to work best. Print Parties are how we keep contact with our fellow designers who are interested in our journey but have sometimes difficulty following us into the exotic territory of BoF, Version Control and GPL3.

19 steps

Unfolding the imposition process in as many detailed steps as possible

Psnup [1][2][3]

But also more sophisiticated PodoFoImpose instruction: step by step (Lua)

instructions are a notation system, a choreography for making a sheet into a page

read instructions

The sheet and the page

Laidout: Tom Lechner
Laidout: folding a ball

Sheet is the term used to indicate an imposed sheet of paper (the “medium”) that contains one or more source pages imposed onto both sides of the sheet. (Technically, each sheet consists of two sheet sides, with each side being represented in the final imposed document by a single PDF page, which happens to consist of multiple other PDF pages superimposed onto it.)


Robin Kinross writes in his text A4 and before:

One might suggest that it is within the nature of a sheet to be folded. This is after all one of the ideas behind the codex-form, the common book form. (…)
I want to suggest, tentatively, another fundamental consideration: as well as being folded, the destiny of a sheet is to be cut, and it may be that we make sheets of a certain size, knowing that they will be cut to a smaller size.

A sheet becomes a page only through folding, trimming and cutting.

Last sunday we drew a book.
675 417 km2 pour Luce
scale 1:385142
interval : 30 m
strokes : 0.05 pt
16 bound sections
cover : green cardboard 300 g + clothed back
1 single copy
Binding, compiling

Small budget, many students … POD
500 different copies


From sourcecode to an executable, from ascii text to book.

Free content such as Gutenberg allows you to look at the source code but process through a compiler, which translates the high-level language instructions into an object .
Imposition is a proposition – to see the way design and books as a form of converting between media and spaces.
It is essential this is not a onew way street. Generating many intermediate products that digital production liberated from the corset of the traditional editorial workflow, sourcecode – object
Move between dimensions
texture, text
The bound book only one possible stage

Caption here

68-69: Sphere explains to square

I: Space, my Lord, is height and breadth indefinitely prolonged.
Stranger: Exactly: you see you do not even know what Space is. You think it is of Two Dimensions only; but I have come to announce to you a Third – height, breadth, and length.
I: Your Lordship is pleased to be merry. We also speak of length and height, or breadth and thickness, thus denoting Two Dimensions by four names.
Stranger: But I mean not only three names, but Three Dimensions.
I: Would your Lordship indicate or explain to me in what direction is the Third Dimension, unknown to me?
Stranger: I came from it. It is up above and down below.

A first version of this text gloriously failed to perform at the Unbound Book conference, Amsterdam (May 2011)