There’s a certain irony that designers—harnessers of human emotion for practical purposes—do the overwhelming majority of their work on machines which operate in nothing but rigid electrical impulses and mathematical code. Rooted somewhere deep in that dichotomy is this interesting project, 56 Broken Kindle Screens.
Creators Sebastian Schmieg and Silvio Lorusso have documented a series of e-book glitches and compiled them into a self-published book, showcasing the moments when the most refined and precise of human creations fail, to beautiful effect. The fascinating thing about the simple concept of this book lies in the medium itself. Content historically linked to the printed page has been transferred to a digital medium, the failure of which is documented back on the printed page.
It’s a sort of meta-statement about the consumption of written content in our day-to-day existence, and gives a sense of an almost human unpredictability. Our day-to-day dependence on digital devices grows, and, conversely, our direct interactions with other humans wanes. Yet the moments captured in 56 Broken Kindle Screens illustrate a sort of bizarre middle ground, where the digital device shows frailty, an almost human sense of emotive expression.
The compositions are individually beautiful and formally fascinating, and I appreciate the designers’ nod to the size and ratio of the Kindle in the design of their printed book. It’s a simple idea, but one that asks intriguing questions about our content-consuming paradigm.