Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Folding the Past

We've had a bit of a debate in our office. It seems that Kindle vs. Paperback may be the new Mac vs. PC debate. In our overcrowded, digital age, do books have a place anymore?

Betsy Birkey of Exploded Library in Chicago, IL is reinterpreting how we look at discarded books. Simply by folding pages, she is giving unexpected new life to otherwise unwanted, out-of-date books—hopefully saving it from a dust-collecting life in a forgotten basement. 

198, 187, September 26, 2011
She doesn't cut the pages, but rather treats them as origami with no glue or tape. If the artist were to unfold the pages, the book would remain readable, in tact. 

In the ongoing debate, I am pro-Paperback. I love the smell of a printed book, the feel of the cover rolling back as you curl on the couch and the sound of a crisp page turning. I also love the possibility of sharing a book, and letting the cover wear as it is loved by multiple readers–then talked about over coffee. 

december 10, 2010, 193
So it isn't surprising that I'm a fan of Birkey's work. It's visually stunning, and seems logistically... tricky. I'm amazed at the many different manners in which she has discovered to fold a page, and love how she often incorporates the inner design of the book cover into the folding. 

I'm tempted to try it, though I know I will be overwhelmed by the thinking that goes behind each of these. Which seems appropriate... old, discarded books, and they're still making us think...

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