About Trees by Katie Holten

September, 2016 

ISBN: 978-3-943196-30-6

Edition: 2000, 256 pages, softcover, dust jacket, pantone spot colour, fore-edge printing 

Design: FUK Design Studio, Berlin

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ABOUT TREES

"If literature is looking for a way forward in the Anthropocene, surely this is a place from which to start."    —Stephen Sparks

PublisherBroken Dimanche Press

First edition: 500 (sold out)

Second print run: 2,000 (available directly from the publisher)

ISBN: 978-3-943196-30-6

Format: 256 pages, 9.25 x 6.5 inches, stitched, softcover, dust jacket, spot colour with fore-edge printing.

Font: The book is typeset in Walbaum and Trees, an original typeface created by Katie Holten. The Trees font is available to download for free here.

Designed in collaboration with FUK Design Studio, Berlin

ABOUT TREES grew out of a series of drawings made for the group exhibition About Trees at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland, October 17, 2015 – January 24, 2016.

Limited edition offset prints available here.

ABOUT TREES is available from select independent bookstores or directly from the publisher here.

SYNOPSIS

Robert MacFarlane writes “There is no lone tree language, but a forest of tree languages.”

In ABOUT TREES, Katie Holten invites us to enter some of these forests. She has created a Tree Alphabet and used it to translate a compendium of well known, loved, lost and new writing. She takes readers on a journey from ‘primeval atoms’ and cave paintings to the death of a 3,500 year-old cypress tree, from Tree Clocks in Mongolia and forest fragments in the Amazon to Emerson’s language of fossil poetry, unearthing a grove of beautiful stories along the way.

ABOUT TREES is the first book in Broken Dimanche Press's series: Parapoetics - a Literature beyond the Human. Recognizing a crisis of representation as our species adapts to life in the Anthropocene, About Trees considers our relationship with language, landscape, and perception.
 
The result is an astonishing fusion of storytelling and art, which celebrates trees and our understanding of them, their past and their future, their potential and their ubiquity. It is a book to leaf through, again and again.

ABOUT TREES includes work by Jorge Luis Borges, Andrea Bowers, Inger Christensen, William Corwin, Charles Darwin, Nicole Davi, Tacita Dean, Brian Enquist, Amy Franceschini, Charles Gaines, James Gleick, Fritz Haeg, Amy Harmon, Natalie Jeremijenko, Paul Klee, Eduardo Kohn, Elizabeth Kolbert, Irene Kopelman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ada Lovelace, Robert Macfarlane, E.J. McAdams, Arianna Occhipinti, Katie Paterson, Thomas Princen, Pedro Reyes, Robert Sullivan, Rachel Sussman, Nicola Twilley, Gaia Vince, Aengus Woods, Andrea Zittel and others.

 

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Katie Holten on Turning Words and Paragraphs into Whole Forests
Interview with Stephen Sparks, LITHUB

Read the Tree Leaves, With an Artist's Invented Tree Font
Ella Morton, ATLAS OBSCURA

For Naturephiles Only: A Typeface Made Of Trees
Meg Miller, FAST CO DESIGN

Typographic Forestry and Other Landscapes of Translation
Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG

Translating Borges into Trees: An Interview with Katie Holten
Katrine Ogaard Jensen, Asymptote

About Trees by Katie Holten
Stephen Sparks, The Improbable

 

"I think of the book as an archive of human knowledge filtered through branches of thought."
Katie Holteninterviewed by Asymptote

"It ranges from short texts by Robert Macfarlane ... to James Gleick, and from Amy Franceschini to Natalie Jeremijenko. These join a swath of older work by Jorge Luis Borges, with even Radiohead ("Fake Plastic Trees") thrown in for good measure.
It's an impressively nuanced selection, one that veers between the encyclopedic and the folkloric, and it has been given a great and memorable graphic twist by the fact that Holten generated a new font using nothing less than the silhouettes of trees.
Every letter of the alphabet corresponds to a specific species of tree
."
Geoff ManaughBLDGBLOG

"The political resistance movements of the future could communicate secret messages with trees—and go down in history as the slowest revolution ever.
Holten is in full compliance with these plans, and actually has a few ideas of her own. "I was reading about the Obama library today. Their budget is something like $1 billion. I immediately was thinking, 'I wonder if they are thinking about landscaping the garden and need some sort of typographic forest?" she says with a laugh. "I feel like this is just beginning, there's a lot more to come. More volumes—and I want [the typeface] to be planted in real life, too.
"
Meg MillerFAST CO DESIGN

"About Trees is strange, surprising, mysterious, and true. Holten has managed to put together an anthology that's far more than the sum of its parts: this is as much an evocation of the spirit of trees as it is a collection of texts on the subject. It's a book/work of art. It's also gorgeous. I adore it."
Daniel Smith, author of Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety

"Gently reaching, beautiful, bountiful—Katie Holten's About Trees translates pulp and ink into a new language of roots and branches, a bewildering, awilding forest of words as strange as it is unforgettable. Learning to live in the Anthropocene means learning to see, listen to, and speak with our world in whole new ways; About Trees helps us begin that transformation."
Roy Scranton, author of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene

"It is essentially an edited compilation of texts about, yes, trees, but also about forests, landscapes of the anthropocene, unkempt wildness, altered ecosystems, and, more broadly speaking, the idea of nature itself."
Geoff ManaughBLDGBLOG

"A work of art, About Trees offers new and vital considerations for the contemporary moment. About Trees rewards readers for taking time to slow down and engage."
Jamie Kruse, co-editor, Making the Geologic Now

"It ranges from short texts by Robert Macfarlane ... to James Gleick, and from Amy Franceschini to Natalie Jeremijenko. These join a swath of older work by Jorge Luis Borges, with even Radiohead ("Fake Plastic Trees") thrown in for good measure.
It's an impressively nuanced selection, one that veers between the encyclopedic and the folkloric, and it has been given a great and memorable graphic twist by the fact that Holten generated a new font using nothing less than the silhouettes of trees. 
Every letter of the alphabet corresponds to a specific species of tree."
Geoff ManaughBLDGBLOG

"The political resistance movements of the future could communicate secret messages with trees—and go down in history as the slowest revolution ever.
Holten is in full compliance with these plans, and actually has a few ideas of her own. "I was reading about the Obama library today. Their budget is something like $1 billion. I immediately was thinking, 'I wonder if they are thinking about landscaping the garden and need some sort of typographic forest?" she says with a laugh. "I feel like this is just beginning, there's a lot more to come. More volumes—and I want [the typeface] to be planted in real life, too.
"
Meg MillerFAST CO DESIGN

"The effect of these translations is beautiful and also unsettling, with text rendered into often dense and illegible forests. The reader—inasmuch as we can read natural phenomena—cannot help but feel disoriented as About Trees poses vital questions about the nature of art and of nature in an age of environmental catastrophe; about the power of language to convey meaning; and about why and how we conceive of the natural world."
Stephen SparksThe Improbable

"Coolest book in which I've ever been anthologized." 
Amy Harmon, on twitter

"...how inspiring your new arboreal font/typeface is."
Robert MacFarlane, in an email to the artist

 

Special thanks to Katie Brown for her assistance with creating the Trees font.