May Reading List – Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich

May Reading List – Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich

Introducing a reading list may be quite a demanding task, as lately it seems to be quite difficult to actually find books that are readable in the conventional sense. “Looking at and understanding the meaning of written or printed matter by interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed” isn’t the primary activity to throw ourself in when opening the books listed below. The experience they offer is mostly of a contemplative kind.

The following four books are part of the archive documenting Jürg Lehni’s and Alex Rich’s collaborative work that started in 2008 with a series of emails. The emails revolved around the issues of communication and technology, the gap between the user and the technologies of communication. The archive itself is named “A Recent History on Writing & Drawing” and it was exhibited at ICA in London involving a series of performances. All of the books have been published by Nieves.

Things to Say

“Things to Say” is a book documenting the drawings made by Victor and Hector. The mechanical brothers are actually relatively simple spray-can output devices driven by two motors. The devices are a collage of other tools, giving them the characteristics of being malleable for interaction and interpretation. 
“Things to Say” brings together the drawings that appear like simple in-line illustrations, thus hiding their origins and confirming the authors’ ideas.

Research Notes

“Research Notes” is a book born with the idea of celebrating “how we find ourselves doodling while on the phone, testing pens in stationery shops, with our belief in folklore, with the need to misuse technology or thinking whose idea it was to fly aeroplanes in formation to write messages across our skies”. The book is an ode to the human necessity of documenting our thoughts and ideas.


“News” is a simple title that unveils the content of this clever book. The artwork presented in the book is a series of anonymous phrases taken from the newspaper headlines reproduced with a Speed-i-Jet, a mobile hand printer. While you start doubting the utility of the object itself, the beauty of the book might actually give its existence an actual meaning.

Empty Words

“Empty Words” is another word-play (and also a tech-play) with a series of phrases cut out with another mechanical device. The actual device has been brought to almost industrial perfection making it suitable for mass production of dotted posters and texts, drilled at a controlled speed. According to the authors, it should be almost as solid as a Linotype.

Rujana Rebernjak – Images courtesy of Nieves