Monday, December 18, 2017

avant eye candy #10 - Prospective 21e Siècle











and then spoiling the relentless silver-ness of the project a bit

Me got a lot of these.

Me want the lot of these.

Compulsive seriality of collector desire, innit?

"The sleeves were manufactured using “Procédé Heliophore”  - a technique originally developed in the 1930s by Louis Defay to transform aluminum paper for printing" - says Discogs

But the Prospective 21e Siècle sleeve designer(s) remain(s) unidentified and unknown!

The below is from an essay I wrote for a catalogue for an exhibition in France to do with ideas of lost futures and retro-modernism etc etc:

The LP series name derived from “prospective,” the philosopher Gaston Berger’s term for the study of possible futures.  Prospective 21e Siècle lived up to this futuristic promise with its startling packaging: glossy, reflective silver-metallic sleeves whose abstract geometric patterns evoked Op Art and the Space Age couture of 1960s designers like Paco Rabanne, with a hint of Art Deco.  

"Launched by Philips in 1967, Prospective 21e Siècle seemed to encapsulate the spirit and aesthetic of the Philips Pavilion of a decade earlier: that shockingly futuristic construction, also known as the Poème électronique, created for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels through the unique cross-disciplinary collaboration of Le Corbusier, Edgar Varèse, and Iannis Xenakis.  Prospective 21e Siècle scaled the Pavilion down to artifacts that could fit into the domestic living space as displayable consumer commodities (the series actually included a couple of avant-garde percussions albums by Xenakis, an architect-turned-composer). According to the insert that accompanied the four-disc box set Electronic Panorama, the series “quickly won its place as the most avant-garde, the most revolutionary of all record collections:  ‘revolutionary’ in its presentation...  in its exclusive [musical] repertory...  and in its price, putting it within the reach of all, and especially of young people, who are passionately interested in new sonic effects... 

"In 1969, the publisher Robert Laffont launched the literary equivalent of Prospective 21e Siècle: the imprint Ailleurs et Demain [which translates as Elsewhere and Tomorrow] dedicated to science fiction and under the direction of Gérard Klein. Over the coming years Ailleurs et Demain would publish translations of works by giants of the genre such as Philip K. Dick, John Brunner, Frank Herbert, and Arthur C. Clarke along with novels by French s.f. writers like Jacques Sternberg, Michel Jeury, and Klein himself .  Klein was an admirer of the Prospective series and decided to package A & D fiction using the same process, called Héliophore and originally developed in the 1930s by Louis Defay to transform aluminum paper for printing.  Some of the Ailleurs Et Demain designs closely resemble specific Prospective 21e Siecle sleeves, while others are new but clearly inspired by the series. (With both the albums and the novels, nobody seems to know the identity of the designers, who were in-house and uncredited).  The design style, which eventually extended beyond silver to gold and copper book covers, was maintained for over 20 years, before being abandoned."



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