Books On Books Collection – Jim Avignon & Anja Lutz

Neoangin: Das musikalische ABC (2014)

Neoangin: Das musikalische ABC (2014)
Jim Avignon and Anja Lutz
Paperback, saddle stitched, staples. H330 x W240 mm, 60 pages. Acquired from Gallix, 25 July 2022. Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Jim Avignon’s website describes Neoangin: Das musikalische ABC (2014) as a “synaesthetic experiment, [on] which Lutz and Avignon have worked together again after almost 15 years, [in which] music, illustration and typography mix in the most cheerful and unsparing way”. For each letter of the alphabet, Avignon has written a song, presented on a double-page spread designed by Lutz and Avignon. The book and performance were prepared and premiered at Typo Berlin 2014.

Songs A through C are “Animal Hypnotist”, “Bad Photoshop” and “City of Strangers”.

The song for Q is “Q Typology of Letters”. The tails of various Qs straddle female, male and epicene symbols and characters as well as emotional quotients and characters.

The songs for X, Y and Z are “X-Files: All Deleted Pages”, “Yeah” and “ZZZZZ”.

Synesthesia of the alphabet can be found elsewhere in the Books On Books Collection: Jean Holabird’s Vladimir Nabokov: AlphaBet in Color (2005) and Le Cadratin’s rendition of Rimbaud’s Voyelles (1871/1883/2012) under Jean-Renaud Dagon. And so can conjunctions of the alphabet and musical notation: Karl Kempton’s playground (2013-14) and Bernard Heidsieck’s Abécédaire n° 6 clef de sol : été 2007 (2015). But Avignon and Lutz have the claim to the only combination of the two and certainly when the musical performance is added.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Jeremy Adler“. 29 October 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Le Cadratin“. Books On Books Collection.

Bernard Heidsieck“. 29 October 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Jean Holabird“. 8 February 2022. Books On Books Collection.

William Joyce“. 18 June 2021. Books On Books Collection. For the more innocent end of literary synesthesia where the cold gray-black of numbers gives way to an alphabet of jelly bean colors.

Karl Kempton“. 29 October 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Cohut, Maria. 17 August 2018. “Synesthesia: Hearing colors and tasting sounds“. Medical News Today. Accessed 2 February 2022.

Campen, Crétien van. 26 July 2012. “Bibliography: Synesthesia in Art and Science“. Leonardo. Accessed 2 February 2022.

Cytowic, Richard E. 2018. Synesthesia. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Books On Books Collection – Le Cadratin

Voyelles (2012)

Voyelles (1871/1883/2012)
Arthur Rimbaud
Design and direction: Jean-Renaud Dagon H325 x W235 mm, 32 unnumbered pages. Edition of 200, of which this is #67. Acquired from Le Cadratin, 6 November 2021.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Le Cadratin is more than a typesetting and printing house or fine press. An atelier-typographique, founded by Jean-Renaud Dagon, its artists perform tightrope acts in typography, ink, paper and form. Under Dagon’s direction, Joanne Bantick, Hugues Eynard, Nicolas Regamey and Roger Jaunin have composed and printed a rendition of Arthur Rimbaud’s sonnet “Les Voyelles” that deserves applause.

Written in 1871 by Rimbaud and first published in 1883 by Paul Verlaine, the sonnet is one of the better known historic literary examples of graphemic-color synesthesia — strongly associating a color with a letter — and in Rimbaud’s case with strong tones of eroticism. Le Cadratin’s artists leave Rimbaud’s eroticism bound to his text, handset in 28pt Roman Idéal, but deliver their own exuberance with subtle tactility and visual texture in large format wooden type using Heidelberg and Vandercook presses.

Voyelles contributes to other themes in the Books On Books Collection besides the alphabet motif. The handling of wooden type echoes David Clifford’s Letterpress Printing ABC and Andrew Morrison’s Ampersand& (2005) and Two Wood Press A-Z (2013). The synesthesia of letters is shared with Jean Holabird’s Vladimir Nabokov: AlphaBet in Color (2005)

Further Reading

David Clifford“. 15 September 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Jean Holabird“. 8 February 2022. Books On Books Collection. For a look at Vladimir Nabokov’s synesthetic alphabet.

William Joyce“. 18 June 2021. Books On Books Collection. For the more innocent end of literary synesthesia where the cold gray-black of numbers gives way to an alphabet of jelly bean colors.”William Joyce”. 202 Books On Books Collection.

Andrew Morrison“.15 September 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Etiemble, René. 1968. Le sonnet des voyelles: de l’audition colorée à la vision érotique. Paris: Gallimard.