Over a 100 pages long, the Longest Joke in The World is the physical embodiment of the long winding story of a man lost in the desert.
Given the opportunity to construct an entire book, I began the project seeking to learn and utilize as many of the physical processes of bookmaking as possible. From the layout to printing to binding, I wanted to have a hand in all elements of its production.
I was first introduced to the joke by a friend. Appearing as a long scroll website, I quickly became captivated in its winding and meandering story. As I read, I realized that The Longest Joke is more than a story, it is an experience in and of itself. With a focus on the relationship between reader and physical book and the opportunity for interplay of narrative and experience, I decided that the story of the joke would be worthy of adaptation and experimentation.
Though it might initially seem clever to source a large piece of text, the initial stages of the project were the most intensive. The process involved in-depth analysis, content planning and multiple stages of editing and content revision. This included restructuring the joke to fit proper tenses and deciding how to structure the pages based around the natural breaks of the story while also creating opportunities for unique interactions with the reader as a physical object.
As a physical object, The Longest Joke In The World utilizes opportunities for unique interactions that play with the narrative.
Tying into a central narrative element of a snake bite, a red spot colour is used to great effect.
From a process of burnishing a laser-etching into the pages, an emblem was cleverly able to be incorporated into the pages.
While there are many binding methods for a book, nothing is more versatile and adaptive as hand stitching. Adding an additional handmade element, this method most importantly allows the book to lay flat, avoiding creases and maintaining its form much longer.
This book contains the longest joke in the world. Featuring hand-drawn illustrations, risograph printing, embossing, gatefolds and more, the book is a physical embodiment of the twists and turns of the story it contains. As an enthralling narrative, the book services not only as a physical manifestation of the story, but also an ostentatious object in and of itself.