The Shadow for the Thing*
How can the perception of an object be problematized through graphic design research? (For full essay see Writing and CV)
A dummy hand grenade was used as a case study to look at the agency of graphic design in framing the narrative of an object. The grenade is held as a prop from the film ‘Full Metal Jacket’ in the Stanley Kubrick Archive at London College of Communication. Archive research, interviews, photography and controlled alchemical explosions resulted in a series of book forms.
A ‘monograph’ about the grenade comprises film photography and lithographic printing found in traditional artists’ monographs. In opposition to this format, there is no pagination, foreword, provenance or plate reference. Sequences of blank pages and repetitions of printed pages make up a fragmented object biography. Tiny threads of stories from the lives of Stanley Kubrick, John Moses Browning and Emperor Wu of Han, each of whom are related to the object. It is accompanied by a series of hand-sized ‘copy books’ containing research material, printing offcuts and maculature that respond to status of the grenade as a cheap mass produced item. The books are unbound and held in a state of tension, mimicking hand grenade-like objects.
Photography: Cate Rickards and Veronika Pap.
These books are held in the UAL Archives and Special Collections Centre based at London College of Communication.
*From Edgar Wind, Reith Lectures 1960: Art and Anarchy