A mystery unfolded in a series of Scottish libraries and museums this past fall when small sculptures constructed from printed pages started appearing on their shelves. Made with exquisite care, these tiny treasures started a sculptural scavenger hunt among the book collections of such institutions as the Scottish Poetry Library and the National Museum of Scotland. A cryptic note was found explaining some aspects of the project, but the name of the artist remains unknown: some mysteries are best when they persist. To follow the adventures of the Library Phantom, visit Robert Krulwich’s sciencey blog at http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/11/29/142910393/the-library-phantom-returns Thanks to Sue Hoegberg for sending us this link.
Modeling his fashionable “Bat Hat,” designer Mike Friton is ready for tonight’s Holloween festivities! A former engineer for Nike Inc., Mike is now creating a series of pop-up bugs and other scary critters–sure to be a hit with young and old alike who love their creepy-crawlies in collapsible form. Visit his web site at www.zoo-play.com to see more….
The “golden venture” style of paper folding has become popular among origami enthusiasts in the past decade, but the story behind style is one of much sadness and anguish. In 1993, about 300 Chinese refugees were discovered on a boat, the Golden Venture, which had run aground off Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York. Some drowned trying to escape, but most were sent to prisons to await decisions on their immigration status. Only about 30 of these refugees eventually received asylum. Most were extradited to China to an unkown fate. While in prison, they made over 10,000 of these beautiful vessels out of whatever paper scraps they could find–newspapers, magazines, notepads and napkins. The detainees gave them as gifts to those trying to help them, or sold them to help pay legal fees. These beautiful origami paper vessels are now on display in an exhibit titled Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
Students working at MIT’s Media Lab develop projects which integrate the latest technologies with practical applications. We found this pop-up project by Columbia mechanical engineering student Jie Qi particularly intriguing. It’s an interactive book with circuitry embedded in its six 3-D pages that work with removable snap-on electronic sensors. Viewing this YouTube video will give you a sense of how the book functions. Ultimately, Jie hopes the project will inspire other craftspeople to use such electronics in their own work.
The project took Jie about eight weeks to produce, working 8-9 hours a day. There’s a nice behind-the-scenes look at the book with Dr. Leah Buechley, who directs the High-Low Tech group within which this project was developed. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lij4rV4h_SA&feature=related
Dozens of people emailed us this link to the video “Going West” produced by the New Zealand Book Council, and for good reason. A slick production with paper-cut animation, the piece quickly captures one’s attention. This 2-minute segment took eight months of hard work by Colenso BBDO and Anderson M Studio. The video is based on Maurice Gee’s classic 1993 novel by the same title. A reading from “Going West” serves as part of the video’s soundtrack.
The New Zealand Book Council promotes New Zealand authors and encourages children to read. It sponsors readings, recitals, school programs, and seminars throughout the country.
Carol Barton will be teaching a workshop in sculptural bookmaking this fall as part of New Zealand’s Aotearoa Creative Textile Conference, October 3 – 9 in Wellington. For more information on Carol’s classes, visit her web site at www.popularkinetics.com
London-based artist Su Blackwell scours bookstore shelves for old books, wthen uses them as her medium to create delightful narrative vignettes. She tries to find something within each book that inspires her and that triggers a visual image. Scenes are cut entirely from the book’s pages and are often very intricate; some of her works take up to two months to complete. To see more of her work, visit http://www.longandryle.com/blackwell.html
A young student in Tokyo has spent four years designing his “City on the Ocean” entirely out of paper. Of course, we like the fact that it’s lighted, and apparently the light changes for different effects. It also features a working paper train, a ferris wheel, and lots of architectural flourishes. See more at the Tokyo Bling Blog. And thanks to Betsy Rubinstein for emailing us with the link.
These days, book artists are designing pop-up books on a whole range of subjects that have nothing to do with kids. Shana Agid has a new book out called “Snitch” in which he explores the positive and negative aspects of “being watched” within our society. What should we fear about surveillance systems? What will make us safer? How much privacy should we give up for safety? These are subjects that needs to be examined rigorously as technologies for keeping track of everything in our lives become ever more sophisticated and pervasive. Check out Shana’s web site at http://www.shanaagid.com/projects/snitch/snitch.html
Another imaginative music video using a pop-up book format for the theme of the animation, Bim Skala Bim’s “Stay in My Memory” combines real footage of a book viewer with creative animated characters that play in and out of 3D pop-up pages. I especially like the tight narrative circle created by the opening and closing night sky sequences!