30 nov The book’s space interviews: Landscapes of Pressure
Book: Landscapes of Pressure
Photographs: Kathrin Golda-Pongratz
Book design: Ignasi López
Date of publishing: June 2014
N° of copies: 600
Dimensions: 11,7×21,5 cm
Binding: Glue and thread binding and hand-folded cover
Paper: Cyclus Offset, Coral Plus (Papers Torras) and Sirio Black
THE BOOK AS A PROJECT
Which are the 5 indispensable pictures for this book?
Photographer: There are less the 5 indispensable pictures but rather the choreography of the images, which creates the narrative and is therefore important. This choreography of images cut in half makes it difficult to give importance to single pictures. Still, I would say that the following 5 pictures are crucial, also as representative images for my way of looking at landscapes and portraying them: the power lines over Montcada; the skeletons of Valdecarros; the fig tree with bed fence in El Prat; the watered fields in El Prat; and the edge landscape of Alcorcón which is the final image in the book and is gradually fragmented and dissolves into pixels, as a symbol for the dissolution of the project of Eurovegas itself.
What is the framed structure of this book?
Book Designer: It is determined by the work of the author. Kathrin arrived with a critical and very powerful urban essay, which questions the current policies of soil speculation along four sites and one phantasmagorical project. This project, Eurovegas, and these four places (two in Barcelona and two in Madrid) are edge places or city-village structures which were selected to be part of this „game“ to become the selected location for a huge casino complex. The concepts of game and competition as well as destruction and fragmentation have an importance from the very first moment. On the other side, the beginning of this work has its origin in a photographic exhibition of the author in the Fundació Miró in Barcelona which, under the same title, showed parts of the project, the pressured landscapes in El Prat de Llobregat. From the first moment we both, the author and myself, did want to stay away from the format of an exhibition catalogue. The book project was not about cataloguing. It was about telling an absurd story through a powerful essay, through text and images. Kathrin had all that: the essay and the images of those four „endangered“ places.
How did you choose your book designer?
P: I had known about Ignasi’s work as designer and book editor, I realized the huge affinities we had (and have) in terms of interests and topics and so I asked him and fortunately he agreed.
What was your approach to get into the photographic project?
BD: My interest, both as a person and as a photographer myself and as co-editor of Bside Books, has always been focused on projects that deal with questions related to the gesturing of the territory in which we live and which surrounds us. Kathrin’s essay goes directly into that direction. Beyond that, the possible implantation of Eurovegas into our territory affected all of us and many voices in protest against it arose. In that sense, it was a stimulating project in which I felt personally involved.
How did you develop the work on the book?
P: A photographic exhibition at the Fundació Miró in Barcelona was the beginning of it, and the book would be more than a catalogue, a critical notebook and a different form of showing my photographic work and a larger critical perception of contemporary territorial politics that lies behind it. The book designer Ignasi López captured this idea and “radicalized” it.
BD: The process of converting the project into a book developed from the analysis, together with the author, of all the crude material, of the negatives, maps, texts, ideas and references… the project of making the book went beyond the exhibition. Those working sessions with the author determined the format of the book. And the author took some more photographs, which were not yet there, to describe one of the places and in order to complete the photographic essay.
THE BOOK AS A STORY
Which narrative slant did you choose for this book and why?
BD: In our debate sessions we made out, in a first moment, the existence of an essay and four “endangered“ places. The concepts of game and competition as well as of destruction and fragmentation appear. References of format come up. The author gave importance to the idea and concept of the architect’s notebook, which is capable of allowing a “like-minded communities of things”. We took the classic format and size of the Moleskine notebook as a reference. Within it we were able to create the narrative, which we felt, was ideal: four chapters for four places. A pressured competition between the two poles Barcelona-Madrid, which is expressed in the pressured way of combining text and images. A supposed competitive fight illustrated through the simulacra (fragmented, broken images) and the speculative (non-real) maps. Finally, a block of an essay, fragmented images, texts and maps which generates a kind of a crescendo and which leads from introducing the context to a final simulacrum, to end with the bursting of the real estate bubble and the failure of the Eurovegas project, which is symbolically shown in the pixilation of the hardest negotiated site. We could define the narrative as an indexed container, organized into four parts like a game of elimination. The graphic allusion to poker reminds us of this aspect in five moments within the book.
What’s the difference between the book and the photographic project slant?
P: The photographs are squared images taken with a Rolleiflex. They portray the landscapes that fell under pressure by a speculative real estate project and show them without anecdotes, just as the landscapes they are. The book transforms them by cutting and reassembling them. It merges them with the essays and maps that simulate the impact that the project would have had on the respective landscapes.
THE BOOK AS AN OBJECT
How did you choose the materials and the kind of printing?
BD: Taking the classic format of a Moleskine notebook as a basis does not imply to have to reproduce its materiality in a literal way. We wanted to create different textures for different aspects of this bookobject: an austere cover within a box that resembles a card box and within that papers are put into a syncope sequence. There is one type of paper offset which is thin for the text and the maps printed in two colours (black and red) an another one, denser and very shiny for the images and the simulacra: a material game for a conceptual essay-game.
How the materials’ choices are connected to the photographic project?
P: First of all, the book does not “monumentalize” the photographs but shows them in the form of a notebook. This very much connects with the fact that the photographic work is related to the writing of a critical essay. On the other hand, the fact that a gambling city project is critically looked at is present in a first moment in its boy, the box like a card box, a first playful way of alluding to the book’s and the photographs’ topic. The text is pressured just as the landscapes it talks about: subtitles and headlines are printed over the text; and if you tear of the dotted lines, you always have a visual connection between text and images: another aspect where the reader itself can “play” with the book.
You can also find all the interview archive on 3/3 blog: www.treterzi.org