Andres Gonzalez

American Origami

This book takes the form of a binder, like one of those suspension files used to keep pupils’ records in the school admin office. With recognisable ruler creases like those often seen on office stationery and a white sticker label bearing the title: American Origami. The unsettling content is the result of a six-year photographic investigation into American school shootings, neatly placed in chronological order from Columbine High School to Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Using a form of binding not, as far as we know, previously used, all the spreads in the book are stacked in landscape format and stapled on the right-hand side – including the cover. The entire body is then folded double, left to right, resulting in a very thick cahier. This allows us to leaf through this folded half, discovering one half of the book: disconcerting photos, without people, of the scenes of terrible events; portraits of those involved, cut-out school photos, interviews, Presidential speeches – each with its own distinct typography and colour or black-and-white printing. Each time, we can then lift the right-hand page, accessing the other half of the book block – a hidden section, containing photos of artefacts left behind by people at the scenes of the shootings: mementos, letters, but also social media threads from the alt-right scene. Rarely has such a highly charged topic been tackled in such an innovative way. The respect shown for the victims and the severity of the subject matter is also expressed by the incredibly painstaking way in which the technical idea has been made reality – for example, the thickness of the stack of spreads means that when the block is folded, the position of the fold moves up a little on each spread, meaning that each page has to be positioned by hand. The result is impressive; the form gives the project an additional layer and meaning. A file filled with the tragedy of a nation.

Edition: 2019
Release date: July 2019
Language: English
Final editor: Hans Gremmen, Andres Gonzalez
Picture editor: Hans Gremmen, Andres Gonzalez
Artist: Andres Gonzalez
Publisher / commissioner: Fw:Books, Amsterdam
Available through:
Designer: Hans Gremmen (Amsterdam)
Lithographer: Colour & Books (Sebastiaan Hanekroot), Apeldoorn
Printer: Grafiplaza, Amsterdam
Binder: Agia speciale grafische afwerking, Amsterdam
Producer: Fine Books (Jos Morree), Weesp
Dimensions: 240 x 280 x 25
Amount of pages: 384
Number of copies: 1,000
Price: € 55
ISBN: 978 94 90119 81 2
Font and foundry: F Grotesk (RP Digital Type Foundry)
Binding style: The trimmed pages are stacked and stapled at the fore-edge to the back of the cover. Then the sheets are folded into a very thick cahier. To the best of our knowledge this binding style has not been used before.
Paper interior: 85gms Arcoprint Milk, Fedrigoni
Cover material: 300gsm Parelgrijskarton, Koninklijke Moorman Karton
Other technical features: The finishing of this book was done in close association with the binder, designer and producer. The technical file had to have an asymmetric lay-out, which was designed on the basis of a predetermined model printed with a millimetre grid; in this way, the creep could be manually determined and adjusted for each spread. The cover is printed in seven colours: twice opaque white, CMYK and one colour mixed at the printing machine.
Awards: Bronze medal Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt, Leipzig 2020