Book design for X-ray Audio exhibition

I got to see a book I designed for Strange Attractor Press in real life yesterday, at the accompanying exhibition in London’s Horse Hospital.

Many older people in Russia remember seeing and hearing strange vinyl type discs when they were young. The discs had partial images of skeletons on them and were called ‘Bones’ or ‘Ribs’.

In an era when the recording industry was ruthlessly controlled by the State, an alternative source of raw materials was found to make illegal recordings – used X Ray plates obtained from local hospitals.

The book, edited by Stephen Coates (The Real Tuesday Weld),  is part of the X-ray Audio Project, and contains a mixture of background information about ‘bone’ discs, interviews with key people involved with the music scene and a catalogue of original photographs by Paul Heartfield of the actual x-ray discs, flexi-discs and recordings made onto postcards. It’s fascinating stuff!

At the exhibition, you can see examples of Paul’s photographs  which are mounted on oversize discs on the wall, as well as x-ray transparencies mounted on lightboxes. Display cases show original flexi-discs, a lathe used to make the recordings and some great printed ephemera of the time.

X-ray Audio - display case

You can also watch a screening of the X-ray Audio documentary featuring interviews with Russian ‘bone’ bootleggers and buyers, archive footage and various commentators

There have been a number of live events alongside the exhibition, including a performance by Lydia Kavina (thereminist extraordinaire, and grand-niece of Lev Theremin) which takes place this coming Friday.

More info
X-ray Audio exhibition, on until Dec 19th 2015
Strange Attractor book designs
Paul Heartfield
Stephen Coates


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