Solar Commune


The Institute are delighted to announce the publication of Drew Milne’s latest book, well booklet really. It’s called ‘solar commune’ and it’s just a tad under A6 in dimensions, printed on handmade papers, using writing by Drew and photographs he took in the Luberon, France, in the summer of 2016. The photographs are of a secretive community of lichens on an ancient rock formation up in the hills of the Luberon.  Here’s a view from the perspective of the lichens:


The booklet is printed on handmade Lokta and Mulberry papers in an edition of 24 copies. Rumour has it that Drew wanted to print the photographs on litmus paper, which is made from lichen powder, but larger litmus papers for printing on this scale are hard to come by, and he settled on the special qualities of Lokta and Mulberry paper as a better form.

It’s different in the printed form, which has muted colour contrasts and a closer merging of image and text, but in ways that make clearer how the printed text might be imagined as lichens clinging on to the possibility of paper as substrate. That said, here’s a picture of the digital form of the lichen and text symbiosis:

SolarCommune5Remix copy

The booklet was first shown on the occasion of the Bookmare Project 2, ‘of average sunlight’, curated by Finlay Taylor and Susan Johanknecht for the Kingsgate Project Space. Here’s the flyer for the private view:

millimetre BookMare 2 flyer-2

There are plans for further outings of the whole set of books, but here’s a glimpse of what ‘solar commune’ looked like as it was being put together. You can see the orange end papers, the title page. and the main pages, along with a glimpse of discarded trimmings.


Here, too, is a glimpse of what the edition of 24 copies looks like, revealing the brass bookbinding screws holding the booklet together.


And here are the publishing details in the back papers of number 1 of the 24 copies.