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I encountered Abidi's work at the "Acts Of Voicing" Exhibition at the Kunstverein in Stuttgart. I had originally intended to post a blog on a collection of other photo-books I had found in the ZKM library but I was disatisfied with what I had found. I did not know what I was looking for exactly but I could not seem to uncover any books that seemed to be an interesting design object whilst also having 'quality' photographs to fill it. There were plenty of books with great images but most had very little design, which did not seem to fulfil the reason for why I would be searching for an engaging photo-book. In the end and after stumbling across this series of flip books, I chose to focus on this work from Abidi, not because I thought either their design or images were particularly important, but because there was a certain awareness of the books (which was in fact one single book chopped up into 10 parts) as not only a series of photographs, but an object that one handles and engages with as they move through it- usually at first- with incredible speed as they scan the content. This un-expected scanning through an object comprised of a series of images cut up into separate pieces was an experience I was expecting, more or less but did not find in the other photo books, as I normally enjoy photographs in publications more often than in frames.

 

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Bani Abidi born 1971 in Karachi (PK), lives and works in Delhi (IN), Karachi, and Berlin (DE) The Speech Writer, 2011 10 flip books in a box, Raking Leaves publishing, 28 x 24 x 3 cm www.baniabidi.com/works.html --- Taking the form of a ten-part flip book, The Speech Writer is a fictional video documentary about a political speechwriter. The protagonist, a retired speechwriter who has spent his whole life composing the speeches of others, has installed a microphone in his apartment that is connected to the numerous loudspeakers attached to the front of his building. Every day he uses this setup to send messages to the outside world. Yet we still cannot hear him, as we are only privy to the mute gestures of his mouth.