[NetBehaviour] Survival Scrapbooks.
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon May 1 12:45:52 CEST 2006
The Survival Scrapbooks are a series of six books published in the
early-1970s covering different aspects of autonomous living from a
practical perspective. Several authors contributed to the series, often
with additional input from others. The titles in the series, and their
volume 1: Shelter, 1972 - Stefan Szczelkun
contents: different forms of wild, mobile, or simple-to-build
accommodation including caves, hand-made tents, wooden huts, and vans.
volume 2: Food, 1972 - Stefan Szczelkun
contents: ways of harvesting rainwater, small-scale farming, poaching,
growing mushrooms, as well as advice on nutrients and different forms of
diet, and fresh air as food.
volume 3: Access to Tools, 1973 - Dave Williams and Stephanie Munro
contents: a directory of books, resources, organisations and where to
buy tools for farming, building, publishing etc. Each entry includes
some small example of useful information to illustrate it.
volume 3 1/2: Play: Ways and Means, 1973 - Pauline Vincent and Ann Winn
contents: different play and self-made learning activities "for kids,
parents, teachers, anybody". These include textile and paper making but
also recycling junk, basic photography and electronics and, according to
the subject listing, the "mastery of elegant insults".
volume 4: Paper Houses, 1974 - Roger Sheppard, Richard Threadgill, and
contents: a detailed instruction guide to building geodesic domes from
paper and cardboard, including how to make the paper.
volume 5: Energy - Stefan Szczelkun
contents: various DIY energy systems such as wind turbines, waterwheels,
bio-gas, and home-built solar panels, but also a section on psychic
energies. Includes maps of naturally available energy sources (such as
wind, water, wood) in Britain and the States.
The books were published by the Unicorn Bookshop in Brighton, with some
titles re-printed in the States by Shocken. It started as an ongoing
project and other titles were planned, such as one on squatting, one on
communications and publishing, and one called "Cracks in the Earth" on
what to do when "attacked by teenage vampires from Outer Space" amongst
The styles of the different authors vary, as do the format of the
books. Szczelkun's titles were all published with punch-holes in the
pages so they could be removed from their cover and combined with other
material in a ring-binder. The sections are each printed in a different
coloured ink (purple, blue, red, brown, orange, etc) with a coloured
strip and graphic icon in each outer edge to make it easy to flick
through and find stuff. The texts are hand-written and a variety of
different visual styles are used in the illustrations, including
drawings by Clifford Harper, photographs, Victorian etchings and
newspaper clippings. "Access To Tools" follows the format of the Whole
Earth Catalogue, lots of compact boxes of information on each page a bit
like the classified adds in a newspaper. This also has page-holes for a
ring-binder. The other two books depart from this. "Paper Houses" is
more like a conventional instruction manual with step-by-step diagrams
and photographs, whilst "Play" is printed in landscape format typical of
school activity-books at that time, although it is also the most
visually intense with tons of drawings, photographs and pasted texts
cramming the pages.
The scrapbook idea and ring-binder format utilises a particular form of
information system that has a loose structure, and is intended to be
re-edited. As such it is typical of many of the experiments with the
book format that were explored in its day, and which led towards some of
the structures that now characterise online publication, such as the
Wiki. Classic examples of such texts are Ted Nelson's "Computer Lib"
(1974 and 1975), Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind" (from early 1970's
onwards), and the Whole Earth Catalogue (1968 - 1998). Whilst volume 3,
"Access to Tools" is clearly a British version of the Whole Earth
Catalogue - it's title is the slogan from the Catalogue's cover - there
is also a shared set of themes between the Catalogue and the Scrapbooks
as a whole: both share a strong influence of Buckminster Fuller's ideas,
evident in themes such as knowledge as a tool, social-ecological
systems, shelter, energy, and geodesic domes. In this sense they are
equivalent US and British statements of early-1970's counterculture and
alternative living. They differ in that most of the Scrapbooks provide
more detailed explorations of particular topics, rather than general
compendiums of knowledge. They also differ in terms of their textual
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