About pliegOS

The concept of pliegOS is nothing new, just a digitized version of something that dates back to the first printing presses and the way literature was distributed through the streets of cities at the beginning of the Gutenberg era and up to cordel literature, and more recently the culture of fanzines.

Img source: Diego Dacal – literatura de cordel. CC BY-SA 2.0

Format & origins

A pliego (traditionally called a ‘quarto‘) was the first known format of printed book in Europe. It designates a booklet or pamphlet that is a quarter of a folio in size: a quarter is obtained by folding the paper twice, which yields eight pages of text by printing on each side. It is believed that the first pliego, the Sibyllenbuch, was printed between 1452 and 1453, before the Gutenberg Bible, which has survived only as a fragment. Continuing the Western traditions of popular literature, such as ‘chapbooks‘ and cordel literature, this format spread to Spain and Portugal during the 18th and 19th centuries, offering readers a wide range of topics, from basic instruction to political treatises.

Img source: Anonymous from nineteenth century. Engraving published on 1850. Public domain.

Micro-contents to the power!

Whether we like it or not, small and short is now the norm. We have less time for long texts, tweets are here to stay, and we end up reading things in small blocks of time. Consider each pliego as a minimum unit of content. It can be quick fiction but also the first chapter of a larger adventure, or a series of poems, the first of many pamphlets. Or part of a course, a module of something broader to learn…

Img source: pliegos.net

Motivation

A book is more than a verbal structure or a series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes on its voice, and the changing and lasting images it leaves in their memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of countless relationships ― Jorge Luis Borges

Initial discovery

The idea has to do with an unusual finding: an old suitcase abandoned in a family garage. Inside, a collection of about 200 Catalan pliegos from between 1910 and 1915, published within the broader collection of En Patufet. These yellowed, folded, and cut pages in the same way we do here (some of them bound with a red thread) tell the story of many tales and handmade covers, thanks to the infinite imagination of Josep Mª Folch i Torres.

The PliegOS project is promoted / conceived / co-developed from the FemProcomuns cooperative in collaboration with FemFum and InLoft, more specifically by:

  • Enric Senabre Hidalgo
  • David Gómez Fontanills
  • Marcantoni Malagarriga-i-Picas
  • Ariadna Torres
  • Mònica Garriga
  • David Jacovkis
  • Ricard Espelt

Some initiatives from the project