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What Can Be Said About a Portfolio Website

A portfolio is a cover in which one carries loose sheets. The word comes from the Latin portare (to carry) and folium (sheet), and gave us portefeuille, the french word for wallet. A portefeuille is the kind of cover in which the loose sheets are ID papers and banknotes. Portefeuille has second meaning as well: in the case of a minister, it is the collection of responsibility belonging to the job.

There is something I dislike about the idea that showing one’s portfolio is unavoidably linked to showing one’s ID. Yet, it becomes interesting again when a portfolio produces multiple ID’s or even fake ID’s. And what to think of the analogy between banknotes and what is shown in a portfolio? Are commissioners and collaborators seen as assets in an economy of attention? Or rather as accomplices in a larger enterprise of fabrication of subjectivity? And if the second meaning—a collection of responsibility—describes well my feelings toward this portfolio, it shouldn’t eclipse the co-responsibility of printers, binders, commissioners, collaborators, materials, tools and environments. Responsibility also simply means that I would respond, should you have a question or inquiry.

In the case of a website, the carrying function of the portfolio is being performed by the infrastructure of the internet, its cables and servers, the silicon and the optical fiber, the lithium and the radio waves and probably some satellite (?) bringing the code to your device, displaying the images of the said folios upon a simple click of the mouse.

The actual folia; book pages, book covers, posters, flyers, leaflets, pamphlets, etc. have been digitized with the help of Laurent Peteuil, using a DIN A4 scanner set at a high resolution black and white, in a way that reminds of the quality of the photocopier, a machine I particularly like to use as if it were a toy.


Paul Gangloff, graphic design practice, Willemsstraat 32 bg. 1015 JD Amsterdam, e-mail.