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Irma Boom and Rem Koolhaas bookmaking events at Harvard University

1786 edition of Oeuvres du marquis de Villette. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fri, Sep 1 - Sun, Oct 15  2023

New York

"The Book in the Age of …" exhibition at Harvard University Graduate School of Design curated by Irma Boom, Phillip Denny, and Rem Koolhaas

The Architecture Department of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University presents the exhibition The Book in the Age of … from September 1 until October 15, 2023 at the Frances Loeb Library. Curated by Irma Boom, Phillip Denny, and Rem Koolhaas.

On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, from 6:30-8:00 PM, the symposium Bookmaking: Irma Boom and Rem Koolhaas will be organized at GSD’s Gund Hall Piper Auditorium.

Exhibition

Since the invention of the codex in antiquity, to the emergence of today’s global publishing industry, transformations of the book are entangled with evolutions of modernity. Following the argument of Marshall McLuhan, Gutenberg’s movable-type printing press yielded not only a Bible, but also created a “Gutenberg Galaxy”: a “global village” populated by a “typographic” human and connected by media—at first printed books, and then later radio, television, and the Internet. While technological innovations have since rendered some media obsolete, the book—in its many forms—remains a prominent instrument of global culture.

Today, the book is a commonplace. An arsenal of modern production technologies have made books cheaper and more widely available than ever before. At the same time, the contemporary significance of the book is not widely understood. Although pundits regularly proclaim the imminent death of print and the waning of literary culture, in fact, more books are printed and sold now than at any point in history. Approximately one hundred titles were published in 1450; today, more than one hundred are published every hour in the U.S. alone. If the illuminated manuscript was a product of the medieval world, what new form of book might correspond to the technologies and politics of our era? Or, to put the question more bluntly, what is the book in the age of globalization?

The Book in the Age of … presents the outcomes of an intensive research seminar on the history and future of the book co-taught by Irma Boom, Phillip Denny, and Rem Koolhaas at Harvard GSD. In the course of the spring 2023 semester, the seminar assembled a collective history of the book and developed a dozen original conjectures for its future evolution.

Instructors: Irma Boom, Phillip Denny, Rem Koolhaas
Students: Robin Albrecht, Nour-Lyna Boulgamh, Ilana Curtis, Justin Hailey, Marya Demetra Kanakis, Han Na Kim, Tomi Seyi Laja, Yeonho Lee, Michael Kurt Mayer, Sarah Nicita, Lauren Safier, Samanta Zhuang

Symposium

The exhibition The Book in the Age of … presents the outcomes of an intensive research seminar on the history and future of the book co-taught by Irma Boom, Phillip Denny, and Rem Koolhaas at the GSD in the spring of 2023. Over the course of the semester, the seminar assembled a collective history of the book and developed a dozen original conjectures for its future evolution. Drawing on the experiments in the classroom, and in celebration of the exhibition, Boom and Koolhaas will come together to deliver a lecture on the book in the age of globalization.

Open to the public, but requires registration. Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or events@gsd.harvard.edu.

 

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