Project Updates

The Climate Domesday Book moves to B418

After it’s public display in the John Curtin Gallery, The Climate Domesday Book has now moved to a temporary home: the new building for the School of Design and the Built Environment, Building 418.

Situated in the staff area of Level 4, the book is on an extended display period for Curtin staff to experience the interactive Book-of-the-Future.

The Climate Domesday Book on display in the staff lounge of Building 418

The Climate Domesday Book in the John Curtin Gallery

Between 28 March to 8 May 2022, the Climate Domesday Book was exhibited in the John Curtin Gallery in Perth, Western Australia as part of the Energaia: Imagining Energy Futures exhibition curated by Stuart Bender and Rachel Robertson.

The Climate Domesday Book in the Access Gallery of John Curtin Gallery

Over 2400 visitors experienced work exhibited by lead artists, designers and writers Stuart Bender, Matthew Churlew, Susanna Castleden, Kath Dooley, Philip Ely, Michele Johnston and Thor Kerr.

Spread exploring Richard Buckminster Fuller’s vision for a global energy grid [Image & Design: Philip Ely]

In addition to the thousands of visitors that were able to see the book in action, approximately 15,000 social media interactions with the Energaia exhibition at John Curtin Gallery took place during the same period. Gallery staff reported a high volume of visitors – particularly children and young adults – enthusiastically took advantage of the hybrid print-digital interaction experience of the book.

Total energy from the sun spread [Image & Design: Philip Ely]
The book partially closed during the playback of Andrew Sunley Smith’s augmented My Walden spread [Image: Philip Ely/Andrew Sunley Smith]

Printing and binding at Bambra

Since we sent the final artwork to Bambra on the 23rd February, a couple of amendments were needed to be made after seeing digital proofs. These were minor copy amends and bleed-related issues. On the 9th March, Philip spoke directly with the Bambra press team to see how progress was going.

The pages were printed and were already being stitched:

The Climate Domesday Book being stitched in the workshop at Bambra Image: © Hayley Evans, 2022

Bambra needed to add extra pages to the 192 pages printed to allow for the enlarged spine that the Magic Bookmark requires.

Frontispiece in view during stitching Image: © Hayley Evans, 2022

In addition, the spine itself needs to house the command module for the Magic Bookmark, so it is ‘bulked’ out so that the module can be hidden from view (see below).

Four custom-made spines for use on the Book. Image: © Hayley Evans, 2022

The spine will be attached to the main body of the book. The image below shows how the book opens and you can see the stitching at the bottom of the spine keeping the pages together.

Spine detail during production. Image: © Hayley Evans, 2022

Our biggest challenge was making sure the Magic Bookmark light sensors aligned with the printed markers in the design. On the call with the Bambra team, it appeared that the markers did not align with the sensors. Unfortunately, this meant a last-minute change to the design (post-print): we’d have to affix new markers at positions on the interactive pages by using adhesive labels.

Let’s see how that looks, in the next post…(delivery due to Perth on 16th March).

First Proofs Arrive

Friday 11th February. The first proofs arrive from Port Melbourne, Victoria, AU.

Introductory pages, single page prints with 3mm bleed Image: © Philip Ely, 2022

The image quality is outstanding⸺particularly the hi-res images including an image of the sun from Adobe Stock and Philip’s image of the power cables (above).

The Orpheus Pro typeface (designed by Kevin King and Patrick Griffin, from Canada Type) works well as a headline face in contrast to the body copy in Tablet Gothic (designed by Jos Scaglione and Veronika Burian, from TypeTogether).

Close-up of introductory page Design and image: © Philip Ely, 2022

We designed a ‘user manual’ spread which explains, briefly, how to use the Magic Bookmark:

A close up of the user manual page Design and image: © Philip Ely, 2022

One of the our contributors, Andrew Sunley Smith appears in the early pages of the book and we used his work My Walden and Carbon Supremacy as a test for printing (below).

Proof pages 20-21 Design and image: © Philip Ely, 2022. Words: ©Andrew Sunley Smith, 2022

Below, we show one of the proofs of Andrew’s My Walden contribution.

Extract from My Walden (Andrew Sunley Smith)

The paper stock, Sovereign Offset Digital is a paper stock suited to the HP Indigo printer and is a smooth, bright white stock. We chose this to reduce any glare on the printed page, where the Magic Bookmark might read black as white or vice-versa.

The first magic bookmark prototype

As contributors continue to liaise with our Principal Investigator, the essential work of building the magic bookmark for the book has begun.

In the lead up to Christmas, George Bairaktaris has designed and assembled the components to the first iteration of the bookmark, which is able to optically read a page and recognise the presence (or not) of markings.

In this video, George tests the sensors which send signals to a nearby device. Will it work?

George tests our first bookmark prototype

The electronics are currently housed within a stitched, felt-like fabric which – in the final version – will include small icons or patches that act as buttons.

Housing the command module

One of the biggest challenges in designing a book of the future which incorporates electronics into a printed form is designing in a team that is dispersed across continents. Understanding just how the hardware could be hidden from the view of the reader was a key consideration, not only for the research team but with our printing press.

During one of our video conference calls, Philip sketched out how he understood the command module might be housed in the spine of a hardcover book:

Philip’s sketch of the control module – which housed the bluetooth transmitter – inside the spine of the book © Philip Ely, 2021

We used this sketch to help explain the concept to a couple of printing presses who might be able to create the bespoke printing and binding for such a venture.

In this early stages, we were unclear about what size the book should be. Given it was going to be displayed in an exhibition setting, a larger format seemed a sensible option, although we weren’t sure if we could build the components and design the editorial layout at this large size; we’d need to speak to printing presses to determine the costs of such a large format book.

Our first conversations

When Philip was first approached by the curators of the forthcoming exhibition at John Curtin Gallery – NRGaia – to develop a new form of interactive book, he immediately thought back to his project with David Frohlich at the University of Surrey. David had been leading the Next Generation Paper project which has now finished (see the wrap-up here) with George, Radu and Haiyue.

Philip and David had discussed some initial ideas (we’ll share some sketches on another post) and we met online with George and Haiyue. George sent through an initial sketch of how the book, with it’s magic bookmark, might work. David sent the drawing with a list of possible components to Philip in the 16th September 2021:

George’s sketch for the first magic bookmark © George Bairaktaris, 2021

This initial design included a control unit that included an ADAFRUIT Feather 32u4 Bluefruit LE MCU Development Board 2829, five reflective sensors (QRE1113GR ON Semiconductor + SMT Reflective Sensor w.Phototransistor Output), a small RS PRO 3.7V lithium polymer rechargeable battery and (perhaps two) Arcol Ohmite touch screen sensors.

We started the process of costing up the software and hardware build to submit a funding proposal to Stuart and Rachel, the researchers leading the Energy Futures Visualisation project (now the NRGaia exhibition project).

Building on the Next Generation Paper project, we were ready to explore our Book of the Future.