Experimental Artists’ book made with cyanotype process and featuring AR technology:

FRAGMENTS OF VULNERABILITY through /words/images/sounds/

MA in Graphic Design, Postgraduate Project – University of Hertfordshire, 2020
Ⓒ Nóra Fanni Zentay

About this experimental book as an art object and art project

A book that you can touch… this tactile experience is still important to us in the digital age. Many of us have heard of experimental music or experimental film, but what about experimental book? Experimental books or artists’ books are made by artists who want to play with the medium of book and want to push the existing boundaries of what we call: book.

The focus of my Postgraduate Major Project is to capture the essence of the interdisciplinary notion of vulnerability by fragments of words, images and sounds in a form of an experimental AR book. The project attempts to explore and develop experimental, intermedial approach to overstep and merge the boundaries of graphic design, printmaking (cyanotype print) and augmented reality (AR) art. Thus, the goal of this MA work is to create a hybrid art project that has an educational function at the same time, which directs the attention to social, personal and ethical issues regarding vulnerability.

The concept of vulnerability has long been a marginal and neglected topic, but nowadays vulnerability has become a central issue in contemporary culture, with its complex relation to philosophy, ethics, sociology and psychology.

This experimental book is communicating the notion of vulnerability with its uncertainty, taking the reader on a journey and exploring vulnerability through words, images and sounds. By this book the reader also becomes a viewer and a listener and can explore vulnerability in an intermedial way. 

These are only tiny fragments of what we call precarious life. 

About the philosophical notion: Vulnerability 

„I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” (Walt Whitman)

“Only the person who has experienced light and darkness, war and peace, rise and fall, only that person has truly experienced life.” (Stefan Zweig) 

Human life is conditioned by vulnerability. Humans are exposed to the possibility of being hurt or wounded. There is no life without wound and vulnerability. It is important to note that vulnerability, on the one hand, represents our wounded and traumatised life and culture, and, on the other, it represents what means to be human: it evokes strength, empathy and care for others. 

Vulnerability has always been entwined with suffering. Experiencing vulnerability, whether bodily or in its affectivity and whether in its psychological or sociological dimension, the interpretation of ‘being vulnerable’ has always been seen mostly, but not exclusively, in a negative light. 

The theory of vulnerability as a value, strenght or virtue appears in the work of many contemporary philosophers; however, “courageous vulnerability” not a completely new thought, as it originates in ancient Greek philosophy.

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