Todd Thyberg, “The Airship”
Artist: Todd Thyberg (Minneapolis, MN)
Title: The Airship (2012)
Medium/technique(s): Letterpress book
Edition size: 250 chapbook / 35 deluxe
Number of pages: 12
Dimensions, open: 10.5 x 15.25″
Dimensions, closed: 10.5 x 7.625″
In the fall of 2011, I was selected as a Jerome Foundation Book Arts Fellow and provided support to create this enhanced, letterpress graphic novel. The writing, illustration, design, and letterpress printing on an 80 year old Vandercook press are all done by me, Todd Thyberg.
The Airship is a science fiction story and first in a trilogy of planned letterpress graphic novels. In it, I seek to draw a literary analogy between the dichotomy of using modern day digital design tools to create works that are produced on vintage analog equipment. In this story, set in a fictional past, one of the characters is transported to another universe in the multiverse. His attempts to communicate across this gulf are indecipherable without access to a smartphone. The reader must also bridge the gap from the era of the story and the equipment used to produce it in order to fully experience the book. By scanning QR codes embedded in the book, the reader experiences the deeper digital experience of The Airship. The story explores aspects of a government becoming a military industrial complex echoing past and current trends in this country.
The Airship came about in an effort to create a book that bridges the gap between digital media and good ol’ analog books. I wish to remind readers that “modern” technology stands on the shoulders of past technology. Without the former, there would be no latter. Without the former, there is no context. Better that they co-exist. By creating a story that utilizes a communication gap created by technology, I encourage readers to see new possibilities for tying together two disparate mediums for a more interactive and unique experience.
My choice of utilizing multiverse theory in the book is due to my vast appreciation for physics and the knowledge we gain from exploration at the very edge of quantum theory. Rather than present the story using a standard time travel model, I chose to use real science and introduce the latest in multiverse theory into my setting in hopes that readers would explore the science further on their own.
I’ve reached the point in my artistic life where I am ready to stretch and grow by tackling challenges in the form of writing and illustrating self published books and graphic novels.