This semester I have decided to attend more loyally the lectures in my print studies. And despite my good intentions in overcoming my study-at-home habits, I remain restless in lectures led by an intelligent, albeit monotonous professor. Therefore, in order to cement the information in my mind and nourish my hunger for thought, I will document my inner narrative and conclusions as the slides pass.
On Thursdays we have Tiefdruck, or gravure printing. Gravure printing deals with the reproduction process made possible by a high precision, chrome coated steel cylinder on which modulating heights and depths determine the color characteristics left behind on a printing substrate. I don’t know why, but I see in this a metaphor for progress, time, and our societal values. Staring at a diagram of the specific print mechanism for 15 minutes led me to unexpected ideas.
(I am going to maintain here the German vocabulary because translations require too much time during a lecture.) Let’s begin with the Formzylinder. Neglecting the preparation of the surface, what represents to me this static structure that also ultimately makes the print unique? This must be our Zeitgeist, our status quo. The shape of the Form symbolizes our values and norms that, for a moment, remain seemingly constant.
This Form, our capabilities, is rotated slowly through the Farbwanne full of thick, color ink. The unpredictable fluidity of this material seems similar to the approaching challenges we face as a civilization on this planet. The dips on the printing cylinder are filled with the medium, intimately interacting and responding to the structure of the Form. But after breaching the other side of the Farbewanne, there remains a superfluous layer which, unless scraped away, would disturb irreversibly the final image.
This under influence of the following Rakel is a metaphor for Pessimism. I don’t consider myself a Pessimist nor do I understand what the ideology entails, but I understand it to be an exaggerated concern for the negative outcomes in a given situation. In this case, it might be a necessary preparation for a well printed image- a succesful reflection of society’s configuration on the substrate of time. Preparing for challenge by assuming the worst is then conclusively necessary for the resulting surface on which the ink interacts perfectly with the Form.
That’s when humanity shows its ability to solve problems in generating significant pressure at the point of incidence, the Presseur. This is where intellectuals are required to think, the common man to work, the children to learn, the artists to paint, engineers to construct, and every other available Earthly hand to pick up the responsibility of privilege in the universe. Our entire legacy is created at this slim, dynamic strip of paper and Form.
And finally we arrive at the beautiful purpose in our existence- a one-of-a-kind image with intricate detail, diverse shades, and a sense that can only be percieved from a distance in the form of an illusion. Whether or not this picture is successful is also unimportant in the end. The principle remains true even when the paper collapses from sogginess and saturation with centimeters of ink.
But for our sake we should ensure that the image is worthy at least of God’s refridgerator door.