I was originally alerted to the al-Mutanabbi project by a poet who was learning letterpress with me in Brighton. I made a letterpress print because I am interested in the idea of bringing people together. We may not agree with each other but let’s communicate.
When hearing about the bookmarks project I remembered a graphic design student who wanted a job with an agency which specialised in guerrilla advertising. After secretly staking out the studio and taking surveillance photos of the head of the agency and other staff leaving and entering the building he was invited to an interview. He prepared for the day by placing the photos, his CV, information about his ideas and why he should be given a job, in a metal photographer’s camera case and locked it. Prior to the interview, when the agency boss made to shake hands the student hand-cuffed him to the camera case. The student hastily left the building, throwing a key to the camera case on the reception desk. He was offered a job of course.
I think the idea of using guerrilla advertising techniques through bookmarks is wonderful; the idea of non-advertising and hoping that people use communication to understand the al-Mutanabbi project.
To me a good conversation consists of an ‘exchange’ of views and opinions so to begin the bookmark project I made a list of simple words to express the idea. The next thing was to find the letterpress type of the correct sizes to fit the bookmark dimensions. I then decided to use blue and orange ink similar to those colours found in middle east arts and crafts. Black was an obvious colour to give strength to the important word “exchange”.
I have given bookmarks to friends, students, the father of a journalist I happened to meet and others. I thought that someone buying a quiz book from a national book store may be a bit puzzled when they found the bookmark I hid there. The book about the artist Eric Ravillious, in which I placed another bookmark, was missing when I next checked the shelf of the local library. I am still waiting for any feed-back.