- Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo
- This is my Bachelor Degree Thesis Book.
The project I developed is a “visual book” based on Juan Rulfo's novel "Pedro Páramo".
A visual book is a graphic artefact whose aim is to offer the audience an enhanced reading experience, without altering or twisting the features of the book as the author intended it. The main advantage of a “visual book” is the aid it gives to the understanding, since it gives the reader an immediate key of interpretation of the text that allows him to comprehend the real meaning and to get possession of the contents.
“In my life there are many silences. In my writing too. For this reason I left many blank pages so that the reader could fill them in.” (J.R.)
Following the initial stage of research and selection of the concept I was going to base my work on, I set the aim of designing, through alterations both micro-typographic (parts of a letter, a whole letter or word...) and macro-typographic (page, book, binding, cover...), a new structure of meaning that should have enpowered the partial emptiness of the narrative and Rulfo's silence in the book.
- There are some folding pages that can be open through a kind of “wing”, convey the key themes of absence and silence, which represent a narrative and biographical rule according to the author, since his life was characterized by fatality and tragedy. The action of opening the folded page symbolizes a metaphor of desire of knowledge, of discovery, the same feelings that brought the main character, Juan Preciado, to undertake the trip to Comala. Inside the folded pages, you can find either a blank space, again symbol of Rulfo's silence, or a sample of text that could be the “echo” of the previous page, represented through a micro-typographical removal or dissection (breakdown of text into words, of words into letters, of letters into fragments, which according to Giovanna Sandri's book “Capitolo Zero” are “talking signs”).
- THE FOLDING PAGES' PLACEMENT
Rulfo proves himself masterly in time overlapping. A digression carries inside another one, in order to preserve the feeling of estrangement through all the story. I therefore decided to arrange the folded pages neither in a pre-established order nor following a rhythm: as a matter of fact their aim isn't to represent the content of the story, but to interrupt the continuity of the narration, underlining its fragmentation and increasing the reader's disorientation. Indeed, organizing the folded pages in correspondence to a change of time, place or narration would have meant giving references to the reader, decreasing the significance of Rulfo's narrative style and the “visual book” itself.
It's important to underline that the page numbering appears even in the folded blank pages, to stress the idea of motionless time that characterizes the book.
- THE COVER(S)
The cover(s) is/are based on a grid of seventy modules that correspond to the seventy parts of the book: within them I placed the letters concerning the essential informations of the book – title and author - according to a pattern that indirectly anticipate the content of the book. This structure allowed a certain freedom of layout, therefore I thought to apply the theme of randomness (already used during the project the folded pages) to the cover, changing the place of the letters within the seventy modules: in this way I managed to have various front covers, similar in the structure but different in the disposition of the letters. For this purpose, I presupposed the use of Processing in order to develop a software that, basing its computation on precise rules, is able to arrange the letters in a "random" order.
- Since the spine of the book remains uncovered, it doesn't indicate the title and the author, so sometimes it's impossible to recognize it: this could be a real problem within the retail industry. I therefore decided to add a band, made out of contact paper in order not to degrade the design of the cover, but able at the same time to indicate the three essential information that should always appear on any editorial product for sale: title, author and publishing house.