angle bra                                                                                                                                           angle bra

Launching the Ark with incision, Tevere style

Ark Codex a Roma

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.

making the etching with Frank

first retrace the cover image onto a zinc plate (that's Frank in the background)


smear ink

then smear ink so it gets all in the grooves


applying ink

clean off the excess ink (with telephone book pages)


the zinc plate

what the finished (salt-stained) zinc plate looks like before printing


ark base

what a simple print looks like hot off the press (detail)

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.)



applying glue to the backsides of old scraps of paper


positioning on the zinc plate, pre-press



Alessandro checking out the result after squeezing through the press

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.

press calamari

the press space turned into gallery space


Ark Codex prints




cal split

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]

Ark Codex alla Stamperia del Tevere from meddleTv on Vimeo.


interview with Luca Arnaduo



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 [ X ])(others are also at Stamperia del Tevere, like the 2 below marked [st], or the one marked [sm] is at 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.


ArCincisioni ArCincisioni ArCincisioni

Ark incision C [st]                                  Ark incision E [x]                                  Ark inicision F [ X ]


ArCincisioni ArCincisioni ArCincisioni

Ark incision H                                   Ark incision I [sm]                                   Ark inicision L [ X ]         


ArCincisioni ArCincisioni ArCincisioni

Ark incision O [ X ]                                     Ark incision P [ X ]                                     Ark inicision Q [ X ]      


ArCincisioni ArCincisioni ArCincisioni

Ark incision R [ X ]                                      Ark incision T [ X ]                                      Ark inicision U [st]

bra down                                                      ©om.Posted 2012 Derek White                                                       bra quet