This project engages contemporary debates surrounding the so-called crisis in print culture and the future of the book by creating two related objects – a book and a printing press – using 3D printing.  The book is a ‘replica’ of a volume by Edmund C. Berkeley, an American computer scientist who wrote one of the earliest popular publications on computers in 1949, called “Giant Brains or Machines That Think”. The volume is open to Chapter 11, in which Berkeley imagines what the social impact of computers will be for mankind.  Entitled “Artifact”, this 3D printed object is a carefully constructed illusion of a book.  The pages are printed on the surface, but do not turn; the book is open, but cannot close.  Although fabricated using the most advanced printing technology, it is in fact unreadable – it exists solely as an art object, an artifact of sorts.  As a book, it is redundant. 
The miniature 3D printing press is fully functional, designed from blueprints for a full-size intaglio press.  Here, the most advanced printing technology is used to reproduce a traditional printing technology.  Entitled “Reinventing the Wheel”, the work is, in effect, a print that prints prints.  It is capable of printing an infinite variety of plates.  This particular plate is written in binary code, an instructional coding system of 1s and 0s used by all computers, including 3D printers.  Each 8-digit string of binary code represents a single written character, which here translates as “Print Rules!”  A self-perpetuating object, the 3D printed press references an evolution in print culture that does not signal extinction but rather perpetuation.



© 2021 by Jenn Law