The online exhibition by the ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community, Altered Books – Digital Interventions, celebrates the book as an object that can carry experience, represent language, tell a narrative, convey culture, or archive memory in the context of contemporary arts.
We consider the Altered Book as an artistic production made through the process of de-construction and re-construction of the book form. We are interested in Digital Interventions yielding screen-based still imagery that uses the legacy and symbolism of books, scrolls, manuscripts, and/or clay tablets as a point of departure.
Historically, the book was a symbol of intellectual life, the vehicle of the communication of history, ideas, and culture. Through the invention of the printing press in the 1400’s, the range of readers dramatically broadened due to increased accessibility, a trend which continued into the Industrial Age and the eventual introduction of paperbacks. In the Digital Age, the physical book is even easier to produce and reproduce, but at the same time it has faced a new challenge, as it is no longer the primary means of dissemination of information and concepts.
The Printed Book, as many of us knew it in our youth, is rapidly moving into the sphere of treasured objects that appeal to our full range of senses, even as they remain bearers of culture and information. Books join the territory already populated by medieval manuscripts, ancient scrolls, and even clay tablets. We have come to love them for their physicality, for the actual experience of touching, feeling, and smelling them, as much their content.
What happens when artists approach these complex objects with digital techniques that intervene both conceptually and technically? How can words be transformed from linear stories into objects that are both art and artifact? Artists in this exhibition have stitched together illustrations, extracted images from words, layered contemporary meaning onto books of memory, and broken new ground with wonderful intermingling of media. There are so many ways to tell a story. This is exhibition celebrates the story of the book itself as it moves into history.
Curators, Altered Books – Digital Interventions:
Hye Yeon Nam
Chair of SIGGRAPH DAC Committee:
Cynthia Beth Rubin
ACM SIGGRAPH DIGITAL ARTS COMMUNITY