Imagining the World: Unexplored Global Collections at Columbia

Fashioning the word and the world: print, design and communication

I asked of everything/ if it had/ something more,/ something more than shape and form,/ and I learned that way that nothing is empty--/ everything is a box, a train, a boat / loaded with implications, / every foot that walked along a path/ left a telegram written in the stone/ and clothes in the washing water/ dripped out their whole existence. (Pablo Neruda)

In this section, we put on display items related to the power of the word, its form and design to express, empower, protect and connect. Items range from those related to typography and the history of print and design (printing manuals, block printing), to postcards, chapbooks, wedding invitations, wall-paper and costume design, as well as amulets. How a word is laid on the page, designed and configured, reflects as much as embodies, serves, supports and amplifies its functionality and meaning. How one fashions oneself and one’s world, through costume, wall paper, lithographs and images, prints in reference books, all speak of human explorations and creativity in fashioning the self and its world. Techniques, styles and representations are shared and transmitted across geographic locations, cultures, times, as well as mediums and domains (printing, calligraphy, typefaces and fonts, book design, costume design, wall-paper, postcards and wedding invitations, etc.), and then adapted, expanded and recreated to fashion new technical skills and expand new horizons.

Global Studies / Lehman Library / 420 West 118th Street / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-3630 /