Top Secret Topography
top secret adj : demanding complete secrecy amongst those concerned
topography n : 1 : the art of showing in detail on a map or chart the physical features of a place or region 2 : the outline of the form of a place showing its relief and the position of features (as rivers, roads, or cities)
The concepts of “perspective” and “hierarchy” are both important to TOP SECRET and TOPOGRAPHY. TOPOGRAPHY has its roots in Greek, meaning “writing of the surface,” which links well to TOP SECRET and the idea of secret documents and what is written on them. If you were to find a secret a document, would you open it to learn its secrets?
Presented as a book, for someone to look through, the type is arranged on sheets playing with transparency and perspective, mirroring topographic maps, linking it to the rises and falls of environmental features and of narratives, and also to the feeling of discovering a secret and how it reveals that more secrets lie beyond.
Like a secret, the landscape revealed is fragile, ghosts of words appear, only to dissolve as they are glimpsed and new impressions are made. Like finding a new place, it can suck you in driving to search deeper to learn more. As you go through the book, you can look back at where you have traveled, as the pages make Rorschach-like compositions as the pages are turned. Pages of different transparencies highlight words and signal pauses and turns in the narrative.
The book keeps its secret message until the very end, using a line by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his story, “LE PETIT PRINCE, one about journeying and discovery. It leaves the viewer the choice: keep the secret or pass it on to another?