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Publication > 11.1 Book Layout

Carved Names

by Lead82

Space Operation and Typographical Silence “In memory of all those members of the university who fell victim to the anti-Jewish laws,  the Holocaust and World War II. ELTE, 2014”
Carved Names – Conference on the Inauguration of the Monument
On 14 November 2014, a monument was inaugurated in the Trefort Garden on the campus of the Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Humanities (ELTE BTK) in memory of former staff and students of the university who fell victim to the anti-Jewish laws, the Holocaust and World War II. ELTE BTK and the Master Association of Architects (ÉME) had announced a competition for students of ÉME’s Master’s studies course under the title Trefort Garden Monument Competition. The winning design was submitted by the “MM Group”. The title of their work is Names in Mortar Joints. The names of 198 former lecturers and students have been engraved on a bronze strip surrounding the Trefort Garden. The double volume Carved Names was presented a year after the inauguration of the monument, in November 2015. The white volume contains the designs submitted to the monument competition, while the black volume includes the lectures delivered at a conference held in connection with the inauguration.
Puritan design >>> Absorbed Content <<< Focusing attention The puritan appearance of the black conference volume represents the humility of science, the force of concentration and the calmness of thinking. The designer draws attention to the content with the dispensability of design. The volume contains only a single size of a single font. The designer’s approach is the conceptual manifestation of remembrance. The homogenized typography is a metaphor, which refers to the intention of destroying diversity – to the consistent practice of the Holocaust when state power sentenced all its discriminated citizens to the same fate without exception. The absence of typographical variety is a symbol of the destroyed individual and the personality deprived of happiness. At the same time, the omission of highlights, spectacular titles and graphic elements does not leave the often hierarchic world of academic life and remembrance culture untouched. All the components of the written content in the volume of studies have an identical meaning, just as the university’s names of the dead of different origin, age, fate and rank are randomly presented next to each other on the bronze strip of the monument. The names, dates and places of birth and death of the university’s victims can be read in 9,454 characters in a ribbon-like manner of a total length of 200 metres on the walls of the university buildings. In a similar way, the nearly one million-character-long flow of text in the volume of studies provides the sensation of reading which is both horizontal and elongated. Its attainment is the ‘request’ of the erected monument for those remembering. In the volume the text does not flow block-wise in the middle of printed sheets marked by an emerging black cotton thread, but lines and paragraphs reaching across the other side break up the image generally considered the visual appearance of book pages, and thus the usual reading practice. The typographic system creating the arrangement of the text itself becomes a book illustration. In an untraditional manner, footnotes are not separated from the body text. The notes set in bronze coloured letters are inserted in the part of the text where they belong – meanwhile they create the design image of the close-up details in the brick wall–mortar joints–bronze strip connection. This makes their treatment and interpretation easier and the colour change also presents the opportunity for passing over them. The elaboration of the relationship between detail and whole is as much an important part of memory as the emphasis of continuity or connecting points. Using a single font and a single size, the book designer has no other choice than to operate with space. Similarly to the Trefort Garden, a series of scale shifts have been achieved with the lines going across the book spine and the thus created spaces that have been left empty. The graphic designer’s space experiment is a response to the architectural space experiment. Due to the lines going over the middle of two pages and the visible thread used for binding the book, typo-images have been created which can be interpreted as independent works of art. The designers have created 27 such facing pages where individual shapes and formations have come about. By making the void left behind visible, the compositions generate disturbance. The typographical silence, the absence stretched to the present, represents the place of loss, unborn works, discoveries and successors. The ribbon-like lines become highlights even in the apparent typographical homogeneity, while the parts of the body text have remained, yet the content has received a stronger meaning. The meticulous use of twenty-seven linear memento signs makes the reader aware of the Prussian like system of lay-out rules which the designers created for the volume, but in which the text shapes itself into a coherent system. The soul of the book design is provided by these twenty-seven so-called ‘thread page pairs’, which also represent the pictorial illustration of the black volume after omitting the photographs and graphic elements from the volume. The title can be only seen on the spine. No lettering breaks the monotony of the front and back covers of the books, the beauty of the mounting material encourages you to draw close, touch and stroke, just like the letters of the names on the monument. The white book is about the present, the design of the monument, and it is calmer and more orderly, while immediately on the cover the intricately weaving threads of the black volume lead the reader to the past, the whirlpools of memory. The key element of erecting the monument involves making something visible. The designers have achieved this approach by elaborating the surface of the book edges. The engraved white edges of the volume of architectural designs have been handmade by master binder Vladimir Fyodorov and recall the technological finish of engraved letters on bronze surfaces by CNC cutter. The edges of the conference volume have been painted sooty black, making the idea physically perceivable, something which can be also read at the end of a study in the volume: “the edge of the paper has burnt, our Lord, / the prayers have not changed in our book. / but since then our hands are sooty / when turning the pages. / forgetting strikes us down wherever we want it. / don’t scorn us for that. / don’t cast us out. then. there. at that moment. amen.” (Mátyás Varga)

  • Creative Directors
  • Art Directors Zalán Péter Salát
  • Designers Daniel L. Nemeth, Zalán Péter Salát
  • Illustrators
  • Photographers
  • Editors Teri Szűcs
  • Copywriters Árpád Szendrői
  • Project Leader and Concept Péter György
  • Project Coordinator Noémi Farkas
  • Printed by EPC Print, Budaörs
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