Investigating forms of presentation of the Artist’ Book.

The book on the table. /// The closed archives. /// The book in a box. /// The open archives. ///
The book on the shelves. /// The book underfoot. /// The book on the ground.
/// The book in an intimate space. /// The book as installation. /// The book in a working space. ///
The book as an object to walk around. /// The book as a concept for a space.


participant: Matthias Tharang [# 03].

Matthias TharangMatthias TharangMatthias Tharang

The Piece >Per Aspera Ad Astra #2< is a collection of phone numbers of the 193 recognized governments in the world, bound in an A0 telephone book, and accompanied by a sound installation of recordings of each government's reaction to the playing of martial music.

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As well as an extensive research to gain worldwide ruler’s telephone numbers, the installation is a result of an intense desire to get directly in touch with the control centres of power. Further, it is the continuation of the installation >Per Aspera Ad Astra #1<, literally translated “Through Hardship to the Stars”.

In contradiction to the effortless lightness of turning an almost weightless sheet of paper, which contains the seriousness of a presidential office, the decision to present that collection in a book bound in the monumental Size of A0 (119cm x 84cm) is the corollary of transferring the unreachable significance of those ruling residencies into a pseudo-divine appearance, and to create a sculptural-heavy quality.

On each side of the book, the capital, office and phone number of each centre of power is presented in a typeface designed by Matthew Carter due to the 100th anniversary of the invention of the telephone. While becoming the most common telephone font because of its excellent readability — even using fast printing techniques and cheap paper — it communicates a certain simplicity and straightforwardness of mass-media production in contrast to the seemingly important value of the content.

The associated sound installation of the audio book is the execution of the collection by means of calling the 193 governments of the world, while playing Emil Laukien’s bombastic military march “Durch Nacht zum Licht” through the office’s telephone receivers in deafening sound. Comparable with the sculptural, oversized heaviness of the book (in opposition to browsing the pages easily) the facile and ephemeral act of dialling a number disagrees with the boisterous arranged quality of the music. >Per Aspera Ad Astra #2< finally becomes an absurd sound sculpture, which wiretaps the unexpected and various reactions of the presidential headquarters to disturbing march music.

Matthias Tharang (Dresden, 1980) studied Photography at the Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. He lives and works in Amsterdam, has lost his dependence on specific media, and executes his work based on ideas and concepts that combine different types of realisation.