Considered a milestone of travel literature, the 1578 book History of a Voyage to the Land of Brasil, by Jean de Léry, was a combination of ethnography, adventure story, and religious diatribe. Through a series of diagrams, charts, and notational systems, this artist book reinterprets Lery’s prose. Each of the original chapters was collapsed into one double spread, where a set of bars represents the paragraphs of that chapter. Their lengths are directly proportional to the line count of the text, and their colors are coded according to their main rhetorical purpose, such as descriptions, narrations, comparisons, etc. On the right-hand side, a visual map plots specific aspects of that chapter. Aesthetic cues are used as means for methodically analyzing a literary text, thus revealing quantitative and qualitative patterns of its verbal contents.
About the artist:
Cristina de Almeida was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. After completing her undergraduate degree, she worked as a graphic designer for several years before moving to the United States to pursue graduate studies in visual communication and typography. Her artist books explore the visual qualities of written language through various media. They have been exhibited at venues across the United States and abroad, including Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. De Almeida is currently a professor of graphic design at Western Washington University.