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July 15, 2009

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New Liberal Arts Unboxing

Unboxing. The public documentation of possession. There’s an essay waiting to be written about what it means—about consumption, sharing, voyeurism, recognition of personhood in the face of mass production, blah blah blah—but I will not be the one to write it.

Instead, I will simply report: It is totally awesome to see people unboxing something you made!

Here’s Jon Hansen’s snap, which has the distinction of being the first one posted.

Here’s Kiyoshi Martinez—looking, as a twitter-pal pointed out, sort of like a 17th-century Dutch oil painting. The dark glimmer!

And here’s Snarkmarket favorite Howard Weaver, who displays New Liberal Arts in context. Look at all those books!

Here it is on another bookshelf—“attention economics” contributor Andrew Fitzgerald’s, in fact. Wow. Good company there.

Posted July 15, 2009 at 2:33 | Comments (5) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted


Now I feel like we missed out on so much boxly design potential with this. The next book ought to be a cross between an iPhone and Dave Eggers' You Shall Know Our Velocity.

Agree 100%. Actually, more like 70% agree on the iPhone angle, 30% on Eggers. The experience surrounding an object is so important (and potentially fun). What's it wrapped in? What do you see when you open the box? What's it bundled with? What's the first word it "says" to you? Especially for something that comes exclusively in the mail -- vs. being bought in a book store -- this is SUCH a fun opportunity.

Again, all of these comments are about the regular edition, not the calfskin-and-vellum one I had made. That one was delivered on a beautiful silk pillow in a carbonite box filled with dry ice.

do'h, I wish I had the prescience enough to document the opening. Alas. I have been reading it slowly, cherishing it, in the place where my best reading and thinking happens:

A lot of the artists' books I've made and read have multiple layers of covers -- a traditional procession is to have a sheet of transitional paper between textblock and cover, the cardboard cover in its bookcloth or fancy-paper wrapping, the little box or sleeve made to hold the book, and the ribbons or string tied around the box/sleeve to keep it closed.

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