Ellen Kooi: Above Rotterdam

This book is a collection of fictional narratives set in B' Tower in Rotterdam, by Wiel Arets Architects. The tower is comprised of 54 studios and 24 apartments. Artist Ellen Kooi staged 52, highly constructed visual scenarios in its top-floor apartments, and artist Katrien Van den Brande authored nine textual situations, to give fictional back-stories to the tower’s imaginary guests in Kooi’s imagery. The book is linen bound, and its voyeuristic cover playfully recalls Jacques Tati’s 1967 movie ‘Playtime’. The imagery of Kooi, printed on white art paper, reads as a filmstrip, and bleeds over onto subsequent spreads. Unlike a filmstrip, the imagery varies in size. Van den Brande’s situations bookend each image series, and are reverse printed–silver on black paper–to emphasize the fictional nature of the book, and those portrayed within it. All text is set in the typeface Academia by Josef Týfa, which was published in the same year as Tati’s ‘Playtime’. At the book’s rear, all 52 of Kooi’s images are presented in two spreads–recalling the way that film negatives, or slides, would sit atop a lightbox.

Editor: John Bezold, Photography: Ellen Kooi, Text: Katrien van den Brande Size: 230 × 278 mm, Pages: 180, Illustrations: Color, Publisher: Actar