Launching the Ark with incision, Tevere style
The Rome launch of Ark Codex ±0 took place the other night at a space not far from our house called Stamperia del Tevere. Not only is Stamperia del Tevere a gallery but it's a working printing press where they make etchings (incisioni) & they kindly invited me to do so. Some of the images in Ark Codex were made using hack linocuts, teaching myself by trial & error (& more often than not it was the errors that were appealing to me), so to have access to an old-school printing press & all the other stuff for making etchings is a dream come true. The stamperia, run by Frank Martinangeli & Alessandro Fornaci, is right on a busy Trastevere street & the doors are always open, so all sorts of crazy neighborhood characters come & go (so i'm learning Italian, or Romanesco, to boot (in the bùcio di culo)). And it's near the namesake Tevere, which played a big part in the making of Ark Codex, so it only seemed all to fitting to launch the ark on it. Alessandro & Frank & crew set me up to make an etching for the show & let me have at it, like a kid in a candy store, encouraging me to experiment with all the various different techniques (acquaforte (acid-etching), acquatinta (also acid, but using a powdered resin), zucchero (sugar ink), sale (salt), etc.—essentially all sorts of way to etch into the zinc plate & also effects you can apply during the printing). Herein are some images from the making of the incisions & the subsequent launch party.
After the first trial run, we started experimenting with various printing effects—smearing or creatively smudging the ink, flicking salts on the plate, mixing inks & collaging in scraps of old book-paper. (& if you think it looks like fun, they offer hands-on courses.)
By coincidence, we made 21 prints (not only is it a Fibonacci number, but there are 21 letters in the Italian alphabet, so each print was assigned a letter). After printing them i brought in an assortment of moveable types & objects to apply finishing touches & we all pitched in. Some of the prints i ran through my typewriter or stained with coffee or ink after. Then i made some salsa, we got a bunch of proseco & wine & had a launch party. Not only did we display the incised prints, but we showed original images from Ark Codex ±0 & of course sold the book itself.
Once people started coming i forgot to take pictures, but here's a few from j's camera. A few times i was interviewed on camera so i'm sure some incriminating footage will surface of me being awkward & staying stupid things, especially considering my shitty italian. [update: here's said video, fortunately Alessandro does most of the talking]
Thanks to everyone that came out, especially Luca (above) who'd just had a baby the day before. If you couldn't make it, i have some images below that i'm selling (not marked with Spazio Meme). Click on the image to see it in greater detail. Each print is €100 euros. Original images from the book are also available for the same price. Contact me if interested.)(others are also at Stamperia del Tevere, like the 2 below marked [st], or the one marked [sm] is at