Production of Place is a large-scale, 272-page book that uses techno, and its adjacent electronic music, such as house and disco, to examine the evolution of Black musical forms. From the secret songs of the Underground Railroad to the discrete Chicago warehouse raves, "underground music" has always been rooted within Black culture. Spanning the Harlem Renaissance, Industrial Revolution, and Jamaican sound systems, the narrative expresses how techno, house, and disco created a sense of place for minority communities. The genre set up a safe space for people to gather and dance—race, gender, sexuality, and class did not matter. As Black electronic music is rooted in the transformation of urban landscapes, socioeconomic circumstances greatly impacted the push for these musical innovations and freedom of expression.
Cover and Spine
The book identity uses bright colors and geometric shapes to create rhythm, movement, and dynamism. It translates the compositional characteristics of the music onto the page. The contents are organized on a grid to contrast and amplify the energetic imagery. Gray tones are primarily the background color, representing the industrial and urban centers that gave rise to the 1980s electronic music scene. Different colors progressively appear per chapter to parallel the structure of techno music, where different sounds slowly come together. The technical, open-stitch binding reflects the industrial warehouses and factories where the dance parties occurred.
American artist Arthur Jafa said, "I see [techno] as being a very specific product of Detroit and Black people's relationship to technology because we were the first technology. We are the technology that drove the American industrial engine…" This powerful quote influenced the research, content, and design of Production of Place.