Classical sculptures that defy logic by paper master Li Hongbo.
Almost as if you were hearing one of those paranormal registers by discarnate entities (spirits, nature energies, beings from other dimensions, or extraterrestrials) released by EVP enthusiasts, you will hear the crackling elder voice of Alexander Graham Bell. This, however, is Bell’s actual voice made available by Smithsonian researchers using optical technology to rescue it from unplayable records.
“Bell conducted his sound experiments between 1880 and 1886, collaborating with his cousin Chichester Bell and technician Charles Sumner Tainter. They worked at Bell’s Volta Laboratory, at 1221 Connecticut Avenue in Washington, originally established inside what had been a stable. In 1877, his great rival, Thomas Edison, had recorded sound on embossed foil; Bell was eager to improve the process. Some of Bell’s research on light and sound during this period anticipated fiber-optic communications.
Inside the lab, Bell and his associates bent over their pioneering audio apparatus, testing the potential of a variety of materials, including metal, wax, glass, paper, plaster, foil and cardboard, for recording sound, and then listening to what they had embedded on discs or cylinders. However, the precise methods they employed in early efforts to play back their recordings are lost to history.
Today, however, a dramatic application of digital technology has allowed researchers to recover Bell’s voice from a recording held by the Smithsonian—a breakthrough announced here for the first time. From the 1880s on, until his death in 1922, Bell gave an extensive collection of laboratory materials to the Smithsonian Institution, where he was a member of the Board of Regents. The donation included more than 400 discs and cylinders Bell used as he tried his hand at recording sound. The holdings also documented Bell’s research, should patent disputes arise similar to the protracted legal wrangling that attended the invention of the telephone.”
Paper Passion fragrance by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, and Wallpaper magazine, with packaging by Karl Lagerfeld and Steidl.
“The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.” Karl Lagerfeld
This tells the story of a passion and a twisting plot to put the particular bouquet of freshly printed books in a bottle. Gerhard Steidl was first alerted to the importance of the smell of a book by Karl Lagerfeld, prompting a passion for paper and the composition of a scent on the pages of a book. To Wallpaper* magazine the pairing of the publisher with the perfumer seemed a natural partnership and so the idea for Paper Passion was born. Wallpaper* magazine commissioned master perfumer Geza Schoen to create a fragrance based on the smell of books to be part of the Wallpaper* magazine Handmade exhibition in Milan.
Text and Image via STEIDL
The SKOR Codex is a printed book which will be sent to different locations on earth in the year 2012. It contains binary encoded image and sound files selected to portray the diversity of life and culture at the Foundation for Art and Public Domain (SKOR), and is intended for any intelligent terrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find it. The files are protected from bitrot, software decay and hardware failure via a transformation from magnetic transitions on a disk to ink on paper, safe for centuries. Instructions in a symbolic language explain the origin of the book and indicate how the content is to be decoded. La Société Anonyme noted that “the package will be encountered and the book decoded only if there will be advanced civilizations on earth in the far future. But the launching of this ‘bottle’ into the cosmic ‘ocean’ says something very hopeful about art on this planet.” Thus the record is best seen as a time capsule and a statement rather than an attempt to preserve SKOR for future art historians. The SKOR Codex is a project by La Société Anonyme.
Text and Image via La Société Anonyme
Stripped drawings, 2011. 84×64 cm. Pencil, paper.
Untitled drawings, 2011. 73×53 cm. Pencil, paper.
Designed by Livia Ritthaler. She says: “I just moved to London to finish my bachelor with the graphics program, and because I can afford a record player, I’ve even built one.”
A phonograph of three materials: paper, wood and metal. Operated by her own hands.