23 July 2008

The un-digital experience

We graze in digital vapor all day, but there's plenty we can't let go of in the analog world. The crispy satisfaction of a magazine, the "new smell" that runs along the inside spine of a book, the scratchy novelty of an old recording, or the unpredictability of a limited edition screen print. Let's face it, life full-digital lacks a luster and a good 200,000 years of humanity. So let's hear it for the guys at Field Design who've put together a limited edition tribute to the analog dubbed "The Radio Post".  If you're handy at paper-based letter writing (remember that?), and can scrounge up a postage stamp, you can get a hold of a copy for free...

If you haven't picked up the latest issue of Print magazine, then you may not have found out about this quiet love-labour enterprise: The Radio Post.

"Delicious analogue things: hand-printed photographs, valve amps, love letters, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, glaciers, cod & chips, Harold Lloyd's stunts, letterpressed books and car engines you can fix with a spanner. All these things, as Ruttger Hauter's Roy said in Blade Runner, will be lost in time - like tears in rain. And hey, we love progress and we love our computers and pdfs and sms and all that, but while the beautiful tactile and faulted nature of these analogue things ebbs away, we are publishing the Radio Post as a little salute, a tip of the cap, to anything related to those beautiful objects and processes. "

And they don't disappoint. I thought my tardy little Aussie postcard, picturing an old sewing machine, would arrive too late but to my surprise I got the sheer delight of a lovely brown envelope in my mailbox, double hand stamped and graced with a cheerful handwritten note. I can't explain why, but at that instant in time, as I unsealed the letter, I felt more connected across the great oceans than I ever have with the instantaneous connectivity of email or chat. Irrational perhaps, but magical it was. In that Christmas morning kind of a way.

A testament to excellent design, this little publication has the satisfactory feel of something both new and recycled, modern and old, scratchy and elegant. Beautifully printed, and comfortable to use, it's a delight. It's a complete designed experience from the slow moment you set aside to scratch your request onto a postcard, to the day it surprises you in your mailbox and moves through your hands. Article topics range from black and white photo booths and lighthouses to Toe Rag Studios, a real recording studio built almost exclusively with pre-60's equipment.

A copy of this publication will be sent free to anyone who asks for one via postcard or letter (while stocks last).

Please send these requests (don't forget your address - and if you like, an appropriate Irish or Danish stamp) to:

The Radio Post
Repubikken Buliding,
Vesterbrogade 24b - 2.Sal,
1620 Copenhagen V,

Printing of the Radio Post is generously spoonsored by Craftprint, Dublin.