printing and constructing

The worlds thickest block calendar is finished. Last week was spend on printing the 2865 pages, perforating them and constructing the calendar. The printing turned out to be more of a challenge then expected.

The inner peace visualisation consists of several layers of circles with varying transparency. Printing those pages resulted in extra thick lines in other parts of the print. To solve this the layers had to be flattened and saved in a PDF 1.3 document. As it took me quite some time to figure out how this is done, this is how I solved it. I opened the document in Acrobat and saved it as a PostScript file. I then opened it in Acrobat Distiller and saved it as PDF/X-3:2002. The whole process took a couple of hours because hundreds of pages had to be flattened. It took the printer around 8 hours to print the whole document! Thanks again to Tiggelman, they’ve done a great job.

After the printing was done I went to the print workshop at St Joost art academy, thanks to John too. Here I perforated 1400 pages by hand with the nice stamp perforation. After I got the hang of it and managed to perforate 4 or 5 leaves at a time it only took me around 6 hours in total.

Then the pages and tab sheets had to be cut and drilled (also done by Tiggelman). I then had two big stacks of pages which had to put into the right order. I then added the tabs and noted the years on them.

The final challenge was to actually build the calendar by pushing the pipes through the drill holes and slowly building one big stack. I had to use small stacks of around 50 pages. The whole was secured by using a long piece of threaded end inside the pipe and rings with wing nuts. Inside the pipe was also strong rope to hang the calendar from the ceiling.

Looking forward to the exhibition: FINAL SHOW 20 april – 23 june at Lokaal 01, Kloosterlaan 138, Breda. Together with 200 other artists.

calendar perforation

Being able to tear of pages is an important part of the calendar. So I’ve been investigating the possibilities. At first I hoped the printer, Tiggelman, would just do it for me. Alas their perforation turned out to be too vulnerable. The nice people at St Joost art academy and office supplies Benoist gave me the opportunity to test two different systems for perforation: one with a blade and the other with punch holes:

The top page has a stamp perforation. The stack is one year. This gives me insight into the size and weight of the calendar. The total weight will be around 5 kilogram. The thickness will be around 32 cm.

I still haven’t decided which perforation to use. I will have to do it by hand whichever one I choose. But the ease in which the papers can be torn off will be decisive.

test prints

Today I went to make test prints and the results look very promising.

The people at Tiggelman repro were very helpful. They suggested I use a paper called Reviva which has a nice newspaper look. The lines I use in my design are only 0.4 pixels thick and the lighter ones were barely visible when I printed them on my printer. But at Tiggelman they’ve got a very good printer which can print those lines and gives very sharp prints in general. This is necessary as lots of lines are very subtle. They will print a test stack of 500 pages and do all the manipulations like drilling and perforating. I’m really looking forward to holding that first stack in my hands.

virtual to paper

I managed to convert the micro-diary to PDF output. It’s quite moving to see my virtual diary which has spend almost eight years in a database printed on paper. There’s is no layout yet, that will follow later. I have to make sure the it is technically feasible and then I can start tweaking the appearance.

Update @ 11/3/13 I’ve now got a 2867 page pdf file of A5 format:

hardware progress

I’ve been working with plastic and paper to create different device prototypes. I was very happy with look of the plastic prototype. I want the design to be light:

The part I like most is where I stitched the plastic together with nylon thread:

But when I did 30 minutes of meditation wearing the device I nearly suffered from hyperventilation. It was so stuffy. Something that was less obvious when I worked with the paper prototypes. Also the plastic became steamed very quickly which points to the greenhouse effect it houses.

So I’ve switched back to paper. That has the advantage that it works a lot quicker and that you can glue the parts. Also the data is a lot more stable over time. The only thing that still needs looking into is how to make the edge of the cone comfortable. I’ve used the soft part of Velcro until now but it comes lose. I’m now considering felt. It is a beautiful combination with paper. I must decide quickly now because I still need to make 5 items.

The electronics are done, I need to calibrate a few more wind sensors like this:

But I’m getting the hang of it. It needs a soft subsurface (not shown). Asserting pressure on the sensor board influences the values… We keep learning :)

portrait as data

During my month of muteness I record a minute long video everyday around 12 o’ clock. I hope that my face will tell the story of what it is like not to speak for a month. I’ve looked at some footage and want to make three interaction modes with the data: 1) all films playing along side each other 2) stills from the film stacked on top of each other using transparency to see the facial expression change 3) a sliced portrait that shows 28 days in one face, rolling over will play the days’ video. I’ve made a sketch for that earlier.

I made some paper sketches when designing. – Note the cut out cursor on the sliced portrait :D


Drawing breath 2nd version

I’ve improved the drawing ‘machine’ using velcro to make the position of the
brush more flexible. I’ve used toilet paper but this certainly doesn’t have
the refinement of rice paper. It just looks like used toilet paper whilst
the rice paper tests look like drawings. The roll of paper is three minutes of breathing, btw.


Design experiments

materialsAfter the last workshop I went straight to the shop and bought some ‘equipment’ to experiment with. I especially like the tiny single punch and propelling pencil. I wanted to try different ways of working with paper in a portable way. Here’s a description of the things I tried. I guessed the air quality from smell.




  • Folding I used standard Post-it notes, wrote the location, date and time on them and folded them. The bigger the fold the stronger the pollution. This gave you little space to write if there was heavy pollution. But I could stick them on a map and get a nice 3d landscape of air quality indications. At the end of the day you can see the course when you stick the notes together as a little book.
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  • Writing
    I bought two different sizes of paper rolls. I wound them around my wrist and tried writing dummy text on them with different colours of felt-tip. The colours indicating air quality. I was surprised how much space I had to write. I had to make sure the paper wasn’t too tight around my wrist so I could twist it. Folding back the paper gave me even more space but this didn’t work very well when you were outside, the long streamer blew away in the wind. Seeing the older values shine through added an interesting dimension. It was a bit of a nuisance that I had to keep a separate legend.
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  • Coding
    I also tried coding the air quality using lines. Longer and thicker lines means stronger pollution, thinner and shorter less pollution.
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  • Medial tape
    The use of medial tape gave a more stable surface to write on. You could feel the chill from the felt-tip when writing which can also act as data, warning me of strong pollution. It is hard to write on the inside of your wrist though. The shine through effect is even stronger here.
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  • Rice paper
    I also experimented with ink on rice paper. Because the ink seeps through on the layer below you can only use one piece of paper at a time. Feeling the ink spread on your skin and watching it on the paper is very exciting and expressive. The results are very artistic. I tried to vary the duration and pressure to express air quality. I’ve worked with lines and stains. Using felt-tip I could and the colour and line length parameters. I ended up with a long line combined with stains where I didn’t move the pen. That’s my favorite because it also has a time element.
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  • Punching
    I used a propeller-pencil for writing and punching holes. I was nice that I only needed one tool to do both. I was a rather painful process so I found a rubber layer to protect my skin. That felt very nice and made the punching much easier. The distance between the holes indicated the pollution, more holes in one line means more pollution. When you turn the paper you get a relief like Braille, this is also an expressive way to work with the data.
    Finally I used the mono punch to punch holes in pieces of paper. This was a bit of a disappointment because you couldn’t really aim where the hole would be. The idea was to make the horizontal punches bad air quality and vertical good. The more, the stronger.
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