Reading QR: Why We Lose Our Hands

It’s been almost two years since I did my first post on QR technology. Alan Hynes had done some silkscreen posters for Mogwai that utilized QR codes. They were pretty rare to see then, but they’ve definitely become more common place. From posters to magazines, they’re relatively easy to find.

The thing that interested me then, and continues to interest me now, is that QR codes are portals from analog to digital. They are like secret passageways taking us from the “real” to virtual world. Admittedly, most often that trip to the virtual world delivers a sales pitch. QR codes are pervasive in advertising print media and not much else. But occasionally there are exceptions. One case in point… Chris Fritton has put together a letterpress book titled, Why We Lose Our Hands, consisting entirely of QR codes. Described as quasi-poetry, reading the book requires a mobile device with a QR app.

According to Fritton, “There’s something very curious about a cipher named ‘Quick Response’ that requires me to take the phone out of my pocket, open an app, point the camera at the code, and wait for the translation. Most literate adults could read 5-10 sentences in that time.” Agreed. While it’s not entirely practical, it’s definitely curious.

The book was printed at Western New York Book Arts in Buffalo, NY and is available on Fritton’s etsy shop.

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Categories: Print-related


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