Technology only exists in the hands of the beholder
Poiesipedia faces the challenges of the digital “poetic intervention” at the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair
- Series: SPARKS - literature goes digital
At the occasion of the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair 2010lab and the University of the Arts London will network poets and photographers and graphic designers from several different time zones and geographies.
The Idea is to compose a book in just three days using the new media as the ultimate platform for collaboration, and to publish it physically “on demand”, in “real time” and on “on stage” at the Poiesipedia booth (Agora, StoryDrive, OS.0 A701) on October 14th, 2011, while generating an e-book version in parallel.
Overcoming the printing press paradigm
Most people concerned with the world of publishing think of publishing in terms of a process at the end of which a physical book displaying a static content is produced, distributed and sold. Almost everything is structured around the very moment the press is switched on as the “point of non return” after which everything will be set in stone. Once the Author is done, armies of graphic designers, lectors, typesetters, etc. go to work to prepare that magic moment.
In the “brave new world” of the new media things have substantially changed. While we still have a printing press at the end, these printed materials are not the sole way to propagate content anymore. E-books, Apps and Blogs exist in parallel. An all of them allow for real-time on-line publishing. And as for the physical book, well the press can now print on demand, i.e. a virtually infinite series of single copy editions can be generated which can dynamically evolve, and each of which can vary from the previous one.
Authors and graphic designer creating the books of the future need to learn to move away from the printing press paradigm, and embrace the new flexibility at each stage of the process. This is easier said than done. In preparing for the Poetic Intervention the Poiesipedia team faces several requests to process a variety of tasks that are no longer necessary. At the same time, authors and graphic designers produce or ask for materials that are not really suited for real time digital processing.
Establishing a real time collaborative environment
The challenge consists in the creation of a virtual space that can simulate the end product, and that is accessible for all participating parties. While the Internet provides the obvious space where to do it, the web alone does not suffice. A virtual book reality needs to be created in which text can be posted, images uploaded and the layout shaped. And every time something has been added all participants need to be able to see the interim end result.
Authors and graphic designers will need to acquaint themselves with the digital ways of processing content without being able to delegate anymore the manufacturing side of their business to third parties. They will need to learn working within the context of a shared and collaborative content management system.
Managing the compatibility of systems and interfaces
The world if full of client based PC and Mac solutions allowing for individual processing of text, images, and other audiovisual content. Unfortunately, most of these solutions have been developed for individual use, and tend not to be compatible with each other.
On the compatibility side the challenge posed by the Poetic Intervention will rest in ensuring authors and graphic designers accept to work on a common set of standards from the very start of the project.
Very much like “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”, technology is in the hands of its users. There are a variety of technologies available, but none of them would allow on its own for making the Poetic Intervention a reality. Combining compatible technologies with each other, and with the right mindset is the challenge the Poiesipedia team will face in the next few days.
written by: Luca Marighetti
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