Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The cult of the book

Defacing books still fills some people with horror. It's amazing how often people get quite hysterical about marking one's place by turning the corner of a page or scribbling in marginalia. One of the key articles of faith in the cult of the book is to create rituals to secure its power. Carefully place it on a polished shelf and make sure it keeps good company; wash your hands before beginning your reading; hold it carefully so you don't damage its spine etc etc. Many of these rituals humanise and sanctify the book. But as we know, books have a chequered history. Marginalia go back a long way and the pointing finger doodle or manicule has attracted plenty of academic interest. More recently creative types have been glueing, sawing and cutting books up to make interesting works of art (there are some examples here). In comparison Jonathan Safran Froer's 'Tree of Codes' consists of kinder cuts. If, however, you prefer wordplay that is even gentler you need stop-motion wordplay with dingbat.

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