The Weight of Language #5
Simon Johnston, 2019
edition of 20
By contrast, for over five hundred years of printing history, an enormous amount of time and effort was spent in order to get a piece of writing published and distributed. Having found a publisher, a manuscript would then need to be edited, approved, set in metal type, proofed, printed and distributed.
In The Weight of Language series, the words of each printed statement describe the exact weight of the metal letterforms used to make the print. With each typeface used, the individual metal letters were carefully weighed and the language adjusted until the weight of each statement matched the cumulative weight of the metal type, a trial-and-error process that sometimes took many hours in order to achieve the precise correlation between statement and weight.
These letterpress prints are typographic statements that speak their own weight, and so are true statements—fully verifiable, accurate language. They represent both physical and metaphorical weight. Their subject is the degree of correspondence between form and meaning. They are about gravitas, in every sense of the word. The translation reads “two thousand three hundred and thirty-seven point nine grams”. The angled type on the sheet is a further play on weight, balance and equilibrium.
printed at p98a workshop in Berlin
dimensions 50 x 70 cm
signed and dated on verso