Joe Gebbia

Date of Design

Size varies

Paper, card stock

Each book is unique 1/1

The haunting beauty of the Untitled book project which has become a phenomenon is still available, each book being an Edition one of one. These pre-production publishing blanks act as a one-off art object and unique craft item for collectors and writers

The series “Untitled” is an insight and intervention into the publishing industry. Taking the blank galley proof and presenting it as a single unique object. This piece offers a way of looking, at objects, at recycling at the value of error and how artistic intervention brings insight and new value to the world we live in.

Within the publishing industry, a single version of the book is produced prior to printing, all details such as paper type and thickness, binding, pagination and any specialized requirements such as gatefolds or inserts will be created so that the publisher can proof and sign off the actual object itself prior to the printed proof.
These are by their very nature utterly unique objects coming from a mass-produced industrial process.

Each book is blank and untitled, each one different and sold without knowledge of the size or type. None of the ideas or images that will eventually be printed and bound are used in this mockup, we get a simulacrum of the object itself stripped bare. They seem to be a ghost, a notion of what might be, questioning what title was intended? was it ever published? do I have a copy of the produced piece?

In the naming of the series “Untitled” Gebbia also comments on the nature of art language, how the artist is either uninspired to title a work or refuses to give such a precondition to the viewer’s thoughts. How the word is used as a title for something without a title

In the age of craft, all objects were by nature unique, as production developed in the industrial age we urged ourselves to produce and require ever more perfectly identical objects, each consumer object would be exactly the same as the last off the production line, this was the industrial imperative. This obsession spilled into everything including baked goods, farm produce, and childbirth. Our need for conformity became manifest in the objects around us by the industrial revolution and post 2nd world war mass consumption. With the coming of the new technological age, we are assured that our lusts for individualization will be met by what is coined “mass customization”, whereby the consumer (person) will choose within certain parameters the detailing of his or her product. With “Untitled” we see the wheels of industry set spinning to create a single one-off item, in preparation for the full production run. The dummy or galley is an industrially produced replicant of the book to be, a test tube simulation as an object.

At a time in our culture when Design is spelled with a capital first letter, and that limited editions are seen as the quick root to design stardom, the nature of these books is 1/1, there is no other object like it.