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— urbantick

Book – World of Giving

“Giving is an act that improves the capacity of the other person.” we can learn in this recent Lars Mueller Publications with the fitting title ‘World of Giving‘. The book is by Jeffrey Inaba / C-Lab and Katharine Meagher and a collaboration between Columbia University GSAPP, the New Museum ad Lars Mueller Publishers. So in this sens a complicated construction, but one that could prove very productive and positive.

Image by urbanTick / A spread of the book showing maps and text.

Similar the topic, ‘Giving’ is not obviously the topic one would expect from such a prominent collaboration, but that probably has more to do with the cliches attributed to the term ‘giving’. But as the introduction of the book demonstrated the world of giving, in the sense of the book’s title, is extremely divers and opens a different alley to approach widely discussed topics. This mainly because it is such an everyday term and as “…it is so ubiquitous that it often goes unseen, … It is even said that it is most virtuos when it goes unnoticed.” Further on in the book the focus shifts more towards large scale ‘giving’ in the work of NGO’s, World Bank or ‘professional givers’ such as nuns (were in ‘Givingness is Next to Godliness’ the term ‘economy of spirituality’ is introduced). In a sense this moves away a bit from the everyday sense of the community ‘giving’ or even the ‘giving’ between friends, a Birthday present perhaps.
For this, although, the content is researched over three years and a number of global ‘giving’ networks are highlighted and discussed. The books has come out of an exhibition project by Jeffrey Inaba and C-Lab with the title ‘Donor Hall‘ at the New Museum New York. Yes, the project realised by Sanaa.
The book’s style at first remembers me very much of the book ‘Massive Change’ by Bruce Mau and Jennifer Leonard. Not exactly sure why this is. Maybe because of the direct and a little bit out of the blue introduction part at the beginning of the publication? By the way, would be interesting to look up a few of the people who contributed to the ‘Massive Change’ to see how it developed in the past six years.
In terms of design the publication is a pure as possible, very simple. The only element are different colours used for, not sure, chapters? The print is not in black, but in colour and this ranging from blue to orange. A very simple tools to structure and intensify the content. However, it’s got drawbacks. The colours change often between the chapters because of the production. Each booklet is printed with one colour and the chapters often dont fit the booklets. Nevertheless, I very much like the way colour is utilised here as a real element of the book.

Image by urbanTick / The colour code that runs through the book.

Don’t expect too much from the book, it is very much about what the title already sais ‘World of Giving”. It is about global players and interlinkages of givers and beneficiaries and this very much in a general sense, eg. I give you because I think you are in need.
The book does hint at a debate about these different and possible ways of communication but for my understanding does not go into depth at this point with the examples. On the other hand one can only ask for more because the product has already lit a fire of interest for the topic. And definitely the book’s focus on global mechanisms and strategies of giving at large with all sorts of different agendas, backgrounds or goals is revealing.
The books first chapter ‘Giving’ by Jeffrey Inaba can be read HERE on the C-Lab website. However you won’t get the nice differences in colour that there are in the book.

Inaba, J. & Meagher, K., 2010. The World of Giving, Lars Muller Publishers.