The Design Observer Group published an excellent review by Rick Poynor of Marker’s two volume Commentaires yesterday. The article explores the books, now out of print and – as noted in the article – exceedingly hard to find, from the perspective of book design.
Marker was an editer at Editions du Seuil for part of his career, and was responsible for the innovative design of the Petite Planète series. He brought this expertise to the making of his own books, which are characterized by customized layouts and a dialogic juxtaposition of text and image.
These characteristics are of course the basis for the essay film as well. While he claimed to have abandoned Gutenberg for McLuhan, Marker was clearly also a bibliophile and a book designer – as if he needed more titles to add to his resumé… The style of Commentaires (1961, 1967) is also on display most prominently in the earlier Coréennes (1959).
Rick Poynor’s review is a highly intelligent opening of a design perspective on Marker that has been missing in the voluminous commentary around his work. So please check out The Filmic Page: Chris Marker’s Commentaires.
Some books are magnetic, by their fluctuation in relation to and through the image, maintaining between words and images a vibration… They swarm with meaning, move, as if beyond themselves, become testaments.
Raymond Bellour, Between the Images, JRP | Ringier & Les Presses du Réel [French orig. L’ Entre-images: Photo. Cinéma. Vidéo., Éditions de la Différence, 1990, rev. ed. 2002, English trans. 2011]
Rick Poynor is a writer, critic, lecturer and curator, specialising in design, media, photography and visual culture. He founded Eye, co-founded Design Observer, and contributes columns to Eye and Print. His latest book is Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design.The Design Observer Group
Here’s Rick’s Amazon page.