Melissa Kaynas for Feb 3

“Wht is a Book” by Paul Chan is not like any book I have ever seen or read and it was not what I was expecting. I think it was a great example of all the things that should not be done with typography and literature and the disconnecting effects that too much confusion can have on people, as other students have pointed out. I found the backgrounds of the pages to be confusing because it didn’t feel like they went with Chan’s explanations. There were newspaper clippings, images, mems, maps and colored backgrounds that made the content hard to read and as I said seem not relate to the content of the book.

Amongst the confusion that this book presented, this is what I was able to draw from my observations of this reading. When reading the content I had a hard time with identifying the key topic of the book. The tittle is “Wht is a book” however the content read more like a poem of the history of each decade of print and how it was changing from cultures and time periods. But I did feel like it was jumping from one to one topic to another without a complete ending because of how brief the different subjects were explained. The book starts off in a sense explaining the processes paper used to be made for printing and he mentions the printing system by Gutenberg. The font choice of his book is extremely larger than one would expect. However it stood out from the small font size newspaper backgrounds and was easier to read in that sense. But I was confused as to why he put quotation marks at each paragraph. It made me wonder if the book was bits and pieces of other books or research that he had formed together or perhaps this book was the fusion of random thoughts of his own that he compiled together. I also, as other students did, noticed numerous misspelled words, I am not sure If this is intentional or accidental. Perhaps a little of both that he wanted the readers to deliberate about the spelling and or meaning of the words in his sense and not just read through his book.

After a closer examination of his book and taking into consideration all the elements he used I formed the suggestive conclusion that perhaps this book is a compile of all the elements Chan had been thinking about while producing the context of his book. This can relate to how we as designers and imaginative thinkers think throughout our processes as well. All the research we do in order to fully develop and understand our desired execution of a project. Not everyone thinks the same or does the same research so we can never fully understand each others thinking processes towards an idea or an explanation that is what I think Chan is trying to illustrate with his book the confusion, research and development that goes into ideas and thinking processes as confusing as it may be.







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