Flatland, See Flatland

Books From the Future created their own version of Flatland  called Flatland, See Flatland. This book is the result of a collaborative effort. Twelve designers created this book in only ten days. It was release in the summer of 2014. The book is available on a Print on Demand basis through their website. This art-book-object is a mixture of the original Flatland  text, graphic design, and topical textual interruptions. The cover image embraces a new life in a three-dimensional world by depicting a square with its eye on its side rather than its perimeter. The original text from the cover of the 2nd edition still graces the cover. The Lands Point, Flat, Line, and Space are named. On the back cover there is a numbered list, this is the table of contents and it refers to tidbits of information that is inserted through the text. Flatland is told while visual and textual aids float in the foreground or squeak in along the side margins. These details require a certain special attention, as some do not directly appear to link with the story. For more information on the contents of the text, I will turn now to the Preface written by Ken Hollings.


Here, Hollins illustrates how images interrupt the text, and Flatland, See Flatland has a method of interrupting the text as well. The story does not fill the entire page, it cascades down from the top in the center and only half of the page. On the inner margin there may or may not be a block of text that corresponds to the title above, and to the index on the back cover.  The page numbers are in the center. The story’s chapter titles are along the outer margin nearer the top. Sometimes blocks of text take up the bottom half of the page, other times there are images: including those of children, families, clouds, spheres, group photographs, pixel-images, and even large areas of pure black. The story seems to loop through the interruptions continuously, weaving them together through juxtaposition. Some of the topics covered are Color Reading, Objects and Aesthetics, Moebius Strip, B Flat, and Carl Sagan[1]. Aside from contributing additional information to the reading experience of Flatland, the arrangement of text on the page serves as a visual interruption to the text before it can be read. Each step away from the core text is an interruption. While reading it is super difficult to focus on the story, especially after reading it recently, but while reading the secondary material my gaze is drawn toward another element within the spread, such as the upside-down text on page 130 that reads: “Commit a crime punishable by death.”[2] Ken Hollins thinks that “these breaks in the printed text suggest the opening up of new spaces and dimensions within it”(7)[3]. This means that just as the diagrams in Flatland are demonstrative, they also function as interruptions within the narrative, suggesting that they open up “new spaces” and this appears to be just what A Square hopes to do. Flatland, See Flatland exploits this notion of graphic interruption in order to introduce more ideas for consideration alongside Flatland. This text functions as an object of artistic expression, but also illustrates connections between great thinkers, artists, writers, and theorists. It combines a knowledge of Flatland with the interconnected expansion of space caused by the rupture of the story by new visual-textual material, the ideas contained here inform the story and actually expand the textual space outwards. In this way, this art-text is designed to illustrate how images and text interact, ultimately demonstrating how lines and blocks (shapes) of text interact on a flat surface, much like the inhabitants of Flatland. So, perhaps the cover design is the eye from above in Space land, with a bird’s eye view of the interloping fragments of text.


1. BooksfromtheFuture. Flatland, See Flatland. Eds. Dante Carlos, Yvan Martinez, and Joshua Trees. London: Lulu, 2014. Print.
2. ibid.
3. ibid.


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