Sunday, March 20, 2011

Conductors of the Moving World

The Making of CONDUCTORS OF THE MOVING WORLD from Little Brown Mushroom on Vimeo.

For more info, or to order the book, go here.

Here's the math on the edition, with thanks to Steve Sturdevant (and Andy), Kurt Froehlich, Rial Cone, and Stephen Davis for taking a crack at crunching the numbers: Based on the total number of original photos, and the random selection of one photo each from 17 columns of three stacks of prints, plus the 17 slots in each volume and the purely serendipitous sequencing, the number of possible editions of Conductors of the Moving World is “45,933,532,441,368,219,648,000. That is: 45 Sextillion, 933 Quintillion, 532 Quadrillion, 441 Trillion, 368 Billion, 219 Million, 648 Thousand. Or, in more poetic terms, roughly the number of grains of sand upon the earth.” (The quote is from Andy.)

Or, in purely personal terms, somewhere in the same ballpark as the odds of running into a beloved ghost on a corner of Bryant Park moments before entering The International Center of Photography, where Inspector Ota took his first tentative steps as a reincarnated man.

This is a really mysterious, lovely, and lovingly assembled book, and my contributions are the least of its charms. Many, many thanks to Alec Soth, Hans Seeger, Carrie Thompson, and Charlie B. Ward --a sort of Caucasian version of A Tribe Called Quest-- for working so hard on a truly mad project.

If you should decide to order the book, cross your fingers that you get the astronaut, or at least the manhole, bikini shot, or World Trade Center towers. I'll be happy to send anyone who requests one a specially packaged collection of the 110 lines of text --strange little aphorisms and koans inspired by, among other things, Zen, the history of traffic control, Walter Benjamin, and P.D. Eastman's Go, Dog, Go!-- that didn't make it into the final version. Or perhaps I'll just post them here at some point.


  1. Thanks to the always decent Mike and sometimes Rachel.

  2. I love this project and the math and the randomness. It's doubtful that there's anything random about it.

  3. There's nothing random in the concept and design, Kris, but I can definitely assure you that the assembly is extremely random. After building two or three of the things it just becomes auto-pilot.

  4. Dear Brad,

    The books looks wonderful, congratulations. I'm waiting for my copy and I'd love to see the text that is not in the edition.


  5. How does 1 order the book?