February 14, 2013 Calverts

Empty Print

Hans-Joerg Pochmann writes:

"Commercial litho printing is expensive – not just financially, but also and especially considering material and labour necessary – aluminium plates, paper, the press, the printer, the printing room, the lighting of the printing room, the ink, etc. (After all, the printing and paper industry is the 4th largest industry in the UK.)

Even though this seems to be quite obvious, in the Digital Age the reproduction of images and text appears to be so naturally ubiquitous, that a litho print is not really considered to be something valuable after all.

 Litho prints are not interesting as things but rather as uniform objects, obscuring their thingness in favour of showing legible text and images. The material and labour needed to create this straightforward legibility become only hardly noticeable as a background noise that is kept as low as possible to not obstruct the meaning (which is supposedly made up of more then just the ink put on the paper).

So what happens if I ask for a poster to be printed without any text or image, with only the printer marks on it showing where the paper is supposed to be cropped, the registration and the colour bars showing that all four colours are printing correctly from all four plates that needed to be processed in order to print only their reference? And what if there would only be an edition of one? Could this be a way to think about printmaking in general?

Calverts was absolutely the right place to print this empty poster. It is a place where printing is still a craft—in the best possible way."

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