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The Art of Looking Sideways
ISBN 0714834491 / 9780714834498 / 0-7148-3449-1
Publisher Phaidon Press
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Alan Fletcher's The Art of Looking Sideways is an absolutely extraordinary and inexhaustible "guide to visual awareness", a virtually indescribable concoction of anecdotes, quotes, images and bizarre facts that offers a wonderfully twisted vision of the chaos of modern life. Fletcher is a renowned designer and art director and the joy of The Art of Looking Sideways lies in its beautiful design. Loosely arranged in 72 chapters with titles like "Colour", "Noise", "Chance", "Camouflage" and "Handedness", Fletcher's book, which he describes as "a journey without a destination", is "a collection of shards" that captures the sensory overload of a world that simply contains too much information. In one typical section, entitled "Civilization", the reader encounters six Polish flags designed to represent the world, a photograph of an anthropomorphic hand bag, Buzz Aldrin's bootprint on the moon, drawings of Stone Age pebbles, a painting of "Ireland--as seen from Wales" and a dizzying array of quotations and snippets of information, including the wise words of Marcus Aurelius, Stephen Jay and Gandhi's comment, "Western civilization? I think it would be a good idea". Fletcher's mastery of design mixes type, space, fonts, alphabets, colour and layout combined with a "jackdaw" eye for the strange and profound to produce a stunning book that cannot be read, but only experienced. --Jerry Brotton [via]