Gumming Up The Works
Publication design for the third instalment of Joanne Lee’s occasional publishing venture, Pam Flett Press. Gumming up the Works explores the nature chewing gum, its cultural significance, and mastication as an artistic process.
When Jo came in to dust to talk about her essay, it became incredibly obvious how crucial her narrative style was in order to engage with an audience in an academic context – especially with a subject that often teeters on the repulsive. Instead, Jo recorded her essay as a one hour long performative reading – made available via soundcloud. Jo’s writing style makes use of extensive footnotes – in this case 10,000 words worth. These references and mental meanderings warranted a publication in their own right – and became the content for a companion reader.
Linking the physical publication with the audio essay was important for cohesion between the two formats, so the treatment of the footnotes was intended to replicate the pace of the audio piece – with physical gaps in between footnotes relative to the timings between these reference points. The design elements themselves overtly reference sickly sweet bubblegum and the way in which it is consumed – unwrapped, chewed up and spat out after it loses its flavour. The foilblocked cover specifically references the toothy edge of gum wrappers, whilst the accent colour of the print alludes to the artificial colouring used.
Alongside her extensive research, Jo had also documented hundreds of occasions of chewing gum in its final resting place – as sticky residue punctuating pavements and tarmac. A selection of ten of these photographs were produced as photographic prints – immortalising chewing gum islands and pavement constellations in print. These were then placed in the publication at five minute intervals, referencing the amount of time it takes for the flavour of gum to fade.
Two colour (black and fluorescent pink) litho print, perfect bound publication, on Fizz bubblegum pink with silver foil blocking on spine. Each publication also contained a set of 10 6x4” photographic prints of chewing gum randomly inserted throughout the book. A limited edition of 10 publications included a custom printed CD with Jo’s recoding on, in a silver wrapper. Audio recording available on soundcloud.