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The second in independent publisher Landfill Editions’ comic and narrative art series, Mould Map 2 explores the mutation of global visual culture over vast timescales through commissioned work from 28 artists, printed in an A3 mega-book in blindingly bright colour-ways. Landfill founder Hugh Frost gives jotta the page-by-page breakdown of the making of Mould Map 2.
Mould Map 2 sets out to create an artifact that references – but exists on an imagined tangential strand to – the known historical timeline of global visual culture. 28 artists invoke images of the distant past recalled from a point in the distant future, alternate realities / alternative histories, mislaid technologies and knowledge, forgotten scientific visions, evolving visual cultures resurrecting, distorting and mutating period styles. Here is how it was made:
1. Using and choosing a theme
Selecting some sort of binding editorial direction can be an interesting way of finding links between seemingly unrelated articles, or centering a publication around some sort of historic or trivial event or movement. For our type of visually-led publication it's a great way of seeing which diverse avenues different artists take when exploring the same starting point. When making Mould Map 2 we started out with the basic idea of investigating how visual culture has mutated over recorded history and might continue to do so in the long term future. Each artist was given a written direction and a selection of reference images.
2. Selecting the artists
In our case the artist selection and the theme were very much linked as we already had the work of some artists involved when formulating the direction, artists like Will Sweeney, Sister Arrow, Tristram Lansdowne, Susumu Mukai all incorporate historical and futuristic stylistic elements in their work, creating the disorienting feeling we wanted the final book to be filled with. Once we had a core group, we filled in the gaps linking artists with one another and types of visual approaches we wanted to include.
3. Collecting the content
Once we'd finalised the direction, chosen the artists and sent out the source images, the artists were given around 4 months to work on their contributions, whenever they had any spare time away from other personal or commercial projects. Final files were sent in as layered TIFFs - one file for each of the 4 Pantone spot colours we used to achieve the bold colour palette.
4. Layout & Design
Since most pages are full page artwork the actual design work to put together the book was quite minimal. We chose Albertus as the main typeface since it was named after a 13th C German priest who was one of the first people in the church to advocate the co-existence of science and religion, which seemed to fit well with the clash of ideas and imagined cultures throughout the book.
The printing process ran fairly smoothly once we'd settled on a paper. The first idea was to use a super glossy stock which would then be UV varnished throughout to create a sickly hyper-gloss finish, but samples seemed to have too much glare, especially under indoor lighting. Uncoated / recycled stock seemed like a good solution until we realised that it would suck a lot of the vibrance out of the spot colours and could lead to a lot of colour rubbing off, since it dries less quickly than coated stock (which doesn't seem to make much sense). Finally at the last minute we went with a silk stock throughout and a gloss laminate for the cover and postcard fronts, which worked out really well, giving super bright colour reproduction but much less glare than full gloss.
Once we'd packaged a load of the books and prints up, the first task was to get them out to the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival in New York, just 3 days after they came back from the printers. BCGF is the perfect event and audience for this type of book so it was worth the panic to finish everything in time, thanks to MM2 artists Will Simpson and Travess Smalley for running the Landfill table on the day. Extra copies then went out to mail order customers and shops stocking small press publications around the world.
7. Launch Event
We also held a one night launch event at Beach London. Berserker Magazine did a special mix of tracks for us, reflecting the mood of the book which was played downstairs in the gallery where we installed spare printers proof sheets as temporary flooring.