Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Artist Book Review: "Driving Distances" by Cynthia Nawalinski

Ok, this post starts with a bit of boasting - at Codex, the UC Berkeley Environmental Design Library purchased a copy of Population Dynamics for their Special Collections. I'm thrilled. It's always wonderful to sell your work, but it's especially great when it goes to a collection that is conceptually appropriate.

As a book artist, I should visit collections regularly, but I rarely make time for it. So I offered to deliver the work in person as a chance to peruse some of their collection. I selected ten books to view, and I'm hoping to write about several of them here. The first of which is Driving Directions, by Cynthia Nawalinski.

Above is the cover. The book is an altered sketchbook, in which the artist has adhered maps of US states to the pages. Each map is cut through, leaving only waterways and major highways. For larger views, click on any of the images. Below is Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Despite the alterations, I can still pick out the intersections of Routes 80 and 15!

The book asks the viewer to consider how much is seen from the windows of a car, and how much goes unseen. This seemed particularly evident below, for Maine.

Paging through the book, a viewer also discovered the moments when the images overlapped, such what happens below with Texas.

Below, the wide open, flat spaces of Kansas are suggested by the straight highway cuts.

A small clarification on this map reminds the viewer that distances are measured in kilometers in Canada.

For some reason, all of the books I selected to view had some sort of repetition, either in the text or the design. Here in Driving Distances it's a bit obvious, each page is a cut-up map. But it got me thinking about the significance of repetition in design, and how repetition can suggest and construct ideas for sequence and structure.

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