DESIGN: Karlssonwilker Has a Creative Time With Creative Time

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Creative Time: The Book
Creative Time: The Book
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New from Princeton Architectural Press, Creative Time: The Book celebrates the history of Creative Time, the nonprofit organization that has been bringing public artworks to New York for 33 years. For example, Doug Aitken's "Sleepwalkers" series of films, projected on the exterior of the Museum of Modern Art this past winter, was one of the more notable recent projects from a group whose roster of artists includes Vito Acconci, Diller + Scofidio, David Byrne, Red Grooms, Jenny Holzer, Takashi Murakami and Sonic Youth, among several thousand others. The book was designed by Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker of Karlssonwilker, who, in the spirit of Creative Time itself, turned the cover into a site-specific public art project, featuring equipment known as the Urban Visual Recording Machine, housed in a Popemobile-like truck (see the PDF). As the truck traveled to various New York locations that were once home to Creative Time projects, the UVRM would record the colors, the sounds and the weather information, creating a sort of ambient profile of the spot at a particular moment in time.

In a collaboration with Show & Tell Productions, the data was instantly transcribed into a visual representation of the environment, composed of graphic shapes and patterns, then printed on-site and stamped with the time and date. In this manner, some 5,000 unique book covers were produced. "We wanted the cover to be a snapshot of New York," explains Karlsson, "but not an obvious snapshot — something a little abstract that can be decoded." (There's a guide to the visual code in the back of the book.) He acknowledges that at a glance all the covers may appear to be basically the same, but a closer inspection, he points out, reveals that "they differ quite a bit," as you'll note of the quartet of covers seen here. As for the interior of the book, its "design is minimal. The projects are the heroes."

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