Publisher: Uro Publications, Editor: Jan van Schaik, Designer: Yanni Florence, ISBN: 9781922601186, Format: Paperback, 108pp, 210x148mm, Year published: March 2022
“The Lost Tablet is a testament to [the] skill of seeing connections.”
Take a small plastic block, roughly 1.5 x 3 cm in plan, with four pairs of studs protruding from its top. Pick up its companion, identical in size and colour. Turn it over. Find three tubes in its base and, with gentle force, connect the blocks together.
Take another block, with two pairs of equally spaced studs, or perhaps with one row of three studs, or perhaps…
Connect it to its companions.
Repeat, until all your different blocks are connected.
CLICK, CLICK, CLICK…
What do you see?
The Lost Tablets are a series of works by Jan van Schaik that explore the geometric language of architecture through the medium of children’s building blocks. Constructed by van Schaik from found blocks (many bearing the teeth marks of their former owners), each tablet flickers with strange resonances that point to a shared but deeply subjective symbolism of building.
From the buttresses of Gothic cathedrals and the blue ceilings of the Shah Mosque of Isfahan, to the inhabited machines and weightless engineering of the Space Age, the genetic lineage of the Lost Tablets is impossible to unpick, even while the potential connections to architectural history are hard to ignore.
The Lost Tablets book continues this exploration of the tension between the ideal of a shared architectural language, and the intrinsically personal nature of architectural interpretation.
Within the book, 50 authors respond to the first 50 works in the Lost Tablets series, with each author articulating their perception of one work, in their own language, and in a form corresponding to their own interests. The authors come from diverse fields. They are economists, songwriters, comedians, artists, curators, architects, linguists, sex workers, journalists, historians, lawyers, writers, philosophers, designers, poets, jewellers, educators, cyberneticians, students, and therapists. Their readings are equally diverse.
Note: Each Lost Tablet has a mute face on one side and a dynamic, distinctly architectural side on the other. The book includes images of the mute sides of the 50 featured Lost Tablets.
A box set, including the book and the full set of 50 postcard images of the alternative, ‘dynamic' face of each Lost Tablet, is available in a limited edition of 20, signed by the author. Click here for more information or to purchase.
The postcards can also be bought in packs of five unique but random cards, here.
Adam Nathaniel Furman, Alonso Gaxiola, Amy Rudder, Anna Johnson, Annacaterina Piras, Anusha Kenny, Audrey Schmidt, Beth George, Caitlin Blanchfield, Caitlin Fraser, Cameron Bruhn, Catherine Pierce, Conrad Hamann, Ellen Broad, Ellie Rennie, Esther Anatolitis, Fleur Watson, Genevieve Bell, Giles Fielke, Giselle Stanborough, Jaxon Waterhouse, Johan Michalove, Julien Leyre, June Jones, Leon van Schaik, Léuli Eshrāghi, Lisa Sullivan, Liss Fenwick, Lucinda Price, Lucy Van, Mykaela Saunders, Nikos Papastergiadis, Perry Kulper, Peter Atkins, Queenie Bon Bon, Ray Edgar, Robin Cohen, Robyn Stonehouse, Rory Hyde, Sarah Jamieson, Shona Stark, Sofi and Ehsan, Su san Cohn, Tilda Njoo, Tim Johannessen, Tohru Horiguchi, Tom McIlroy, Vivian Gerrand, Wendy Radford
About the author
Based in Melbourne Australia, Jan van Schaik is an architect at MvS Architects, a researcher and senior lecturer at RMIT Architecture & Urban Design, and a creative sector consultant at Future Tense.
Jan is the founder and producer of the WRITING & CONCEPTS public lecture and publication series, which reflects on the role that writing plays in the development of contemporary creative practice.
Featured tablets in spreads: Spread 1, Lost Tablet Bernice 2021, reconfigured Lego, 19 x 24.5 x 8 cm, Spread 2, Lost Tablet Twenty One Friends 2020, reconfigured Lego, 19 x 24.5 x 5 cm, Spread 3, Lost Tablet Jenny 2020, reconfigured Lego, 19 x 24.5 x 7.5 cm, Spread 4, Lost Tablet Duc de Dantzig 2020, reconfigured Lego, 19 x 24.5 x 2.5 cm