Expanded and Reversed
If one takes the term ‘post-digital’ in its most colloquial definition then it might appear hypocritical to publish a physical book and present it within the context of something that is beyond technology. However if we take James Bridle’s definition of the post-digital to be a ‘return to analogue’ (Bridle 2010) and Christiane Paul’s identification that post-digital art is often ‘shaped by the internet and digital processes yet often manifest[s] in material form’ (Paul 2015) then the post-digital could be assumed to reflect that which is part of technology and yet is able to exist without electricity.
Expanded and Reversed is a three-tiered transmedia publication that explores the very base of what the post-digital is. Florian Cramer defines the post-digital in its simplest sense as ‘the messy state of media, arts and design after their digitisation’ (Cramer 2014), which is to mean their translation from one form to another. The title Expanded and Reversed describes the process of digitisation that the words experienced before this new print. The process began by deconstructing the artist’s postcard collection into meanings, colours, stories and well wishes, and then re-grouping them to form short poems. The book is one of the first medias within which data could be permanently recorded, allowing dissemination to far-reaching audiences as well as a place where text can be placed in conjunction with images. Within Expanded and Reversed the colour of the digital is presented to offer thought past the text. The intervals of block blue colour are there to allow time for contemplation on the subject of the poems as well as tie all three publication components together.
Part two of the publication is a booklet of lists; it is the foundation of the work. The de-construction of text into its individual digits offers the opportunity for collaboration between reader and writer to re-contextualise what was written into an infinite amount of opportunities for expression, all hand-sewn together with ever-present blue.
The final tier is that of the obvious digital; the online. Seen through a screen the website strikes immediately of interactivity. How websites operates with hyperlinks is so embedded with our association of technology that little direction is required for a reader to be able to navigate the space. Tying in the theme colour the homepage is a tantalizing array of pulsating blues each unique and each enticing the reader to click. The brightness of the digital screen suggests that when the link is selected the reader is removing a layer and moving further forward towards the ever-distant bright white. Each click offers the unveiling of a new piece of contextualisation for the poems; they are delving into the archive.
The post-digital approach is all about working inter-generationally, mixing old media with new. Expanded and Reversed does that quite literally, it uses postcards that have been sent over three generations to create what might have been a forgotten story into something new and preserved through publication. It is not required that the elements are read in the order written above, the reader must choose their path if they are to truly experience Expanded and Reversed in the post-digital way; as a non-linear form where text structure is not important but the experience is (Ludovico 2012).