In Rome and Florence, two cultural initiatives explore the process of creating and enjoying a book in an engaging way. To find out how the physicality of the object is reflected in our reading experience

An exhibition, a fair and a publication dedicated to 'things well explained'. Sartorial paths - visual and tactile - are those that unravel the process of bookmaking in an engaging way. Exploring, as in a slow and conscious journey - station by station - the world of books from within. Knowing the passages of the book's metamorphosis that from text becomes object : content and container. Expand one's perceptual field and “feel” a book in an organic way, giving importance to touch as much as to sight, associating the physicality of the manuscript with the human body.

From Rome to Florence, they are different - all tailoring and multisensory - initiatives (exhibitions, fairs and high quality publications) that focus on the book object.

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At Macro in Rome, the creation of a book is multisensory

Unravel the process of bookmaking through both visual and haptic perception. Until May 22, 2022 at Macro - Museo of Contemporary Art of Rome, the graphic designer Goda Budvytytė, in an interdisciplinary project that involves other creatives, stages touch, color and fold. By starting from its primary material - paper - and by synaesthetically unfolding its constitutive elements in a spatial and performative dimension, touch, colour and binding emerge as intertwined agencies mutually affecting one another.

Read also: the Fore-edge Painting exhibition at Macro

How does a book feel?

And in the wake of such an organic investigation of space and matter, a myriad of questions never ceases to arise: How does a book feel in one’s hands? How does it touch us? How do the pages flip and fold; how does colour/ink on paper impact and get deciphered by the human eye; and how can the materials we come into contact with help to articulate, influence or change our way of perceiving the world?

An interdisciplinary and performative bookmaking project

Each noun exhibition’s title corresponds to a specific component of bookmaking: touch stands for paper, colour for ink, fold for binding. These aspects are explored alongside practitioners from different fields and backgrounds. Choreographer and performer Ula Sickle will lead a series of participation-driven guided sessions in the exhibition space with the aim of moving away from hegemony of sight to reconnect the act of perceiving with and through the body. Photographer Rasa Juškevičiūtė will provide visual insights and document the show throughout its various stages. Her pictures will join the speculative words of writer and curator Bernardo José de Souza, and both images and texts will be added as an integral part of the exhibition.


Seeing by touch

An open-ended book-like structure, conceived in collaboration with architecture practice Ēter will take centre stage, acting as a maelstrom of sorts, an axis around and through which all contributions create an ever-expanding field of sensorial perception.

Vision is a complex mechanism that goes beyond the simple notion of providing the coordinates of this world to our brain. It also affects movement, touch and emotions, and opens different avenues of attention. So, moving away from primarily visual cognition, this exhibition asks: What would it mean to see through touch, emotion or movement?

Fare Text at the Leopolda in Florence: seven stations to retrace the life of a book

A new fair dedicated to contemporary publishing and its protagonists (in front and behind the scenes) different from all the others in terms of themes, care and location, created to tell how a book is born and how it arrives in the reader's hands. Text  [Come si diventa un libro] [How to become a book] is a high quality tailoring project, organized by Stazione Leopolda and Pitti Immagine and conceived by the Florentine bookshop Todo Modo, which addresses every aspect of the life of a book: from how to write to how to publish, how to translate, how to draw, as it sells up to as it reads.

The first edition of Text, at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence from 25 to 27 February 2022 was visited by 8,000 people; it hosted 70 publishing houses and 150 events, including workshops, meetings and guided tours. Three days and seven stations - the Manuscript, the Impact, the Translation, the Sign, the Story, the Bookshop, the Reader - to retrace the life of a book in a competent, passionate and participatory way.

Interactive paths to tell the world of books from within

Thanks to a team of curators, each year Testo will tell the world of books from within, addressing both the general public of readers (admission is free) and professionals. An interactive event, to be experienced, thanks to the involvement of the many subjects who, for various reasons, deal with publishing.

The public is called not only to visit the exhibition, but to be the protagonist of experiences - individual and collective - that revolve around the passion for books. Workshops, narratives, meetings, guided tours, lists of readings to share on social networks and many other opportunities for the multifaceted community of readers who will find an unprecedented dimension in Testo: sophisticated (elegant in every aspect, from the location to the stands to the graphics) and muffled (not “shouted”), understanding and stimulating.

Things well explained

Cose spiegate bene (Things well explained) is the first paper publication of Il Post, the online newspaper born in 2010. The first issue of the book-shaped magazine published by Iberborea is dedicated to books, how they are born, how they are produced and how they are sold, as well as the people who work around them, to get to know not only the stories they contain but also those in which they are containe .

The metamorphosis from text to object

The words make up a text that is printed on a manuscript: this is the book intended as content. And then is the book intended as an object: the container. The book is therefore both the text we read and the object that we browse.

The passages of the metamorphosis from the text to the object are many and involve numerous professionals. What is the paper, whose publishing houses are, why (almost) all Italian books are in Garamond, what does the really do ' editor, how to open a library are just some of the stories told in the first issue of Cose spiegate bene with the clarity that distinguishes the writing - apparently simple, actually pruned and calibrated - de Il Post.

Limited hand-numbered editions

And if we talk about tailoring, both of content and of container, we cannot fail to mention the books of Atlantide Edizioni . For each publication, the independent Roman publishing house prints - on fine paper , in a sophisticated and manageable (almost) square format, characterized by a wide layout and airy margins - 999 hand-numbered copies . Each book is therefore unique, distributed exclusively in trusted bookstores and through its own website.

When a title exceeds 999 copies, it is published in another edition, which always differs in one detail. Even if there are 11 of them, as in the case (a real literary case in the United States as in Italy) of The summer that melted everything - L’estate che sciolse ogni cosa  by Tiffany McDaniel.

Read also: Italo Svevo object-books to read equipped with letter opener

Fashion told by text-ony (by famous writers)

Maison Valentino delves again into the literary world, strengthening its commitment into fostering arts and culture, with a new campaign: Valentino the Narratives II, re-envisioning the method fashion is communicating in, making Valentino a pioneer of text-only campaigns. Creative Director continues to convey the values of authenticity and individuality by creating a polyphonic conversation: a common quest of building a multi vocal community. For the second chapter of the words-only advertising campaign, Pierpaolo Piccioli has invited renowned international authors, to lend their voices to create 17 individual & impactful campaign layouts.

Love and freedom of genre

Love in all its forms and meanings as a fil-rouge of the whole campaign, bringing together writers and poets, in a colored layout: Alok Vaid-Menon, Amia Srinivasan, André Aciman, Andrew Sean Greer, Brit Bennett, David Sedaris, Douglas Coupland, Elizabeth Acevedo, Emily Ratajkowski, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Hanif Kureishi, Leila Slimani, Melissa Broder, Michael Cunningham, Mieko Kawakami, Murathan Mungan and Serang Chung that all experiment in freedom of genre.

Pro-active approach and support for independent bookstores

Valentino The Narratives II capitalizes Maison’s bond with literature and the places in which literature dwells in a pro-active approach of “giving back” to the community. The brand will indeed continue to sustain selected independent bookstores and renews the collaboration with Belletrist bookclub, founded in 2017 by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss, promoting cultural happenings and inviting the community to join in an open dialogue. A peaceful words campaign guerrilla will paper Soho in New York, other cities.

Read also: Valentino's total look newsstands