Wednesday 23 June 2010

Paper FTW

I'm quite fascinated by the physical-digital-physical loop. But, what do I mean by this?

Well, as an example: when I was at the National Library, I helped run the @nlnz Twitter account. Twice a day, @nlnz posts a link to an item from the Library's collections, with a pithy little comment.

One of our followers was Unlimited Magazine. They linked the tweets so much, they got in touch to ask if they could borrow this idea for their magazine. So in each issue there's now a full page reproduction of a collection item, with a little story written by an Unlimited staffer, that draws out the link between this historical image and the the current business news Unlimited covers. From memory, one of the first was this gorgeous bit of advertising, with a short article about contemporary exporting.

So, a physical poster is produced. Years later, it's digitised and placed online. And then it's spread through an online channel, and comes to the attention of a publisher, and turned back into a physical item. It's not by any means unusual, but that doesn't mean it's not interesting. A friend of mine tells a physical-digital-physical story about his mother, Byzantine mosaics, Flickr and quilt patterns.

Anyway. My interest in this means I was delighted by Rattle's use of Newspaper Club to produce a report on their My Life As An Object project (you should click all those links).

In one of my previous jobs, I helped prepare exhibition reports - doorstops worth of photocopies that were dutifully distributed, and god knows, possibly even read.

I love that Rattle's taken such a beautiful and appropriate approach to a project report. And I bet it had a much higher readership than your usual end-of-project documentation. Clever, clever stuff.

New Zealand apples, the Empire's star turn. [1930s?]. Reference Number: Eph-E-FRUIT-1930s-01. Alexander Turnbull Library. From the Manuscripts + Pictorial website.

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