Affinities
A Book of Images

An exploration of echoes and resonances across two millennia of visual culture, celebrating ten years of The Public Domain Review.

  • Funding ended
  • 2510 backers
  • $201,574.85 of $65,894.50 pledged
Funded 305%
  • Funding ended
  • 2510 backers
  • $201,574.85 of $65,894.50 pledged
Funded 305%

Overview

Gathering a remarkable collection of over 500 public domain images, Affinities is a carefully curated visual journey illuminating connections across more than two thousand years of image-making. Drawing on a decade of archival immersion at The Public Domain Review, the book has been assembled from a vast array of sources: from manuscripts to museum catalogues, ship logs to primers on Victorian magic. The images are arranged in a single captivating sequence which unfurls according to a dreamlike logic, through a play of visual echoes and evolving thematic threads – hatching eggs twin with early Burmese world maps, marbled endpapers meet tattooed stowaways, and fireworks explode beside deep-sea coral.

At once an art book, a sourcebook, and a kaleidoscopic visual poem, Affinities is a unique and enthralling publication that will offer something different on each visit. Exquisitely cloth-bound and extending across more than 360 pages, its playful and imaginative space invites the reader to transcend familiar categories of epoch, style, or historical theme, and to instead revel in a new world of creative possibilities played out between the images – opening up new connections, ways of seeing, and forms of knowledge.

A compelling object and experience in its own right, Affinities also acts as a launchpad for further discoveries and inventive engagements with the commons. Channelling the bold curatorial spirit of The Public Domain Review, the book’s meticulous sourcing points to works, creators, and collections around the world, serving as a gateway for future forays into the digital public domain.

Launched to coincide with the tenth anniversary of The Public Domain Review, the book promises to give followers of the hugely popular site more of the wonderful encounters that they have come to expect, and to introduce a new audience to its singular creative vision. Volume is delighted to move this digital cabinet of curiosities onto the printed page.

Editor

Adam Green

Designer

Nicholas Jeeves

Genre

Visual Culture

Specification

280 x 215 mm
368 pages
Hardbound
Covered in real cloth with foil-blocked text
Embossed and tipped-in cover image

This campaign is now closed and Affinities is in production. For those who missed out, it is still possible to pre-order the book for a limited period here →

Rewards

Book

• Edition limited to Volume
• Exclusive updates
• Your name in the book

Collector’s edition + prints

• Slipcased special edition
• Set of four prints limited to a run of 100
• Custom-designed poster
• Exclusive updates
• Your name in the book

Book Early Bird

• Reduced price
• Edition limited to Volume
• Exclusive updates
• Your name in the book

Collector’s edition

• Slipcased special edition
• Custom-designed poster only available with this edition
• Limited to 400 copies
• Exclusive updates
• Your name in the book

Funding successful. This project closed on Friday, June 4 2021 4:00 pm UTC +00:00.

All pledges will be refunded in full if the funding goal is not met within the allotted time.

 

The Public Domain Review

Dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas, The Public Domain Review presents overlooked cultural works that have fallen into the public domain.

Through its essays and collections it brings readers a breath-taking range of material from galleries, libraries, museums, and archives the world over. Earning praise from the likes of The Guardian, The New York Times, and Vice, it has welcomed more than 20 million people to its pages since launching a decade ago.

With a focus on the surprising, the strange, and the beautiful, the project celebrates the breadth and diversity of our shared cultural commons and the minds that have made it. Affinities is a shining summation of that work thus far.

An Aladdin’s cave of curiosity…the best thing on the web.

The Guardian

Collector’s Edition

For those seeking something truly special, Volume is offering this Collector’s Edition, limited to 500 copies. Bound in an elegant shade of blue, with palladium foiling and custom endpapers, this covetable offering comes housed in its own cloth-bound slipcase.

This unique publication is accompanied by a limited-edition poster, measuring 840 x 560 mm when unfolded, showcasing every image in the book. Complementing the book’s human-edited sequence of images, the poster explores the concept of digital image association in the age of the internet. Designed and developed in collaboration with researchers at King’s College London, the Public Data Lab, and DensityDesign Lab in Milan, it presents a layout of the book’s images according to machine-learning algorithms that find affinities and cluster images based on training datasets.

Exclusively limited to this Volume edition, the poster is printed on 170 gsm matt-art paper.

A gold mine of fantastic images and stories.

The New York Times

A Collection of Prints

Volume is also pleased to offer a selection of prints from an enigmatic 16th-century German manuscript of geometrical and perspective drawings. Including the cover image of Affinities and three others from the manuscript, this visual quartet of prints plays on the themes of repetition and difference so key to the book.

Measuring 270 x 200 mm and printed on heavy textured art paper, these giclée prints will be limited to 100 sets and are only available as part of the campaign. This offering is perfect for long-standing supporters of The Public Domain Review who wish to bring the spirit of Affinities from the bookcase to the wall.

The Public Domain Review provides the world with an accessible alley to explore some of the most interesting and formative parts of our culture … carving out a niche as a beautifully curated website with a solid editorial line.

Vice

Meet the Editor

Adam Green is co-founder and editor of The Public Domain Review, an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to exploring curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas. Since launching the project in 2011, he’s taken the review from modest beginnings to one of the most renowned digital projects of its kind, lauded by such outlets as The Guardian, The New York Times, and Vice. He is also working on other experimental art and literary projects that build on his editorial work plumbing the depths of historical archives. He is currently in limbo on the edge of the Peak District in the U.K.

Adam Green’s 5 favourite spreads from Affinities

4 comments

Dear backer,

Since Affinities: A Book of Images funded on the Volume website back in June, we’ve been working hard to bring The Public Domain Review’s exquisite brainchild to life. The images and designs for the lovely 368-page book have now been finalized; the text has been written, copyedited and proofread; and all the materials, from paper to packaging, have been ordered. In the next month, the Volume team will complete a series of quality checks before sending the files to the printer, so that the books can be printed, shipped and in your hands in time for Spring.

We asked The Public Domain Review co-founder and editor, Adam Green, to share some of his favourite spreads from Affinities, and to tell us about the thought process of curating 500+ images that feature in the book.

These images strike up relationships. They create alliances. They know how to make friends, and invite intimacies. There are various kinds of such resonance at play in these pages before you – some explicit, some subterranean – associations rooted in visual forms, in shared subjects, in vague hints of narrative, or in atmospheric complementarities perhaps harder to place. And so often, to varying degrees, there’s present a mix of all of these at once. Such associative connections hold the book together – not in the way that nails and beams hold a house together, but in the way that fizzing forces hold the charged particles of an atom together, in a dynamic and semi-stable whirr. 

Thank you so much for your support and patience in this project. We’re very excited for you to see this beautiful book of images in all of its glory.

Kind regards,

Beth Siveyer
Volume Community Manager

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4 Replies to “Adam Green’s 5 favourite spreads from Affinities”

  1. Toni Dietkus

    Not to use an over-used word, but TREASURE comes to mind! What is greater than nuggets that thrill the very soul of us. I’m trying to remember everyone I should send this book to.

    1. Beth

      Hi Toni, the book really is a treasure trove of curiosities! So happy that you’re as excited as we are about the project and can’t wait for you to pore over the pages.

  2. Camille Rollason

    I am SO excited for this book it’s unreal! Can’t wait.

    1. Beth

      Hi Camille, we’re excited too!

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