Thursday, May 24, 2007

Book as enduring object

"I'm fascinated by the fact that bookbinding, far from being a gentle art, is actually quite a rough, energetic pasttime, and much of the terminology is very physical: we smoothed her down, trimmed her clean, knocked up her shoulder, rounded the headband, padded up her spine, wrestled with the bookcloth, boned her all over, blocked the case, cased her in."
Ampersand Duck
This is a post from last year, recently linked to on Sarsaparilla, about rebinding a hardback book (photos via flickr here). There is something about the book as object that I find eternally compelling. Although I believe books in bound form will always exist (if nothing else, the ones that already exist and are treasured will endure), I do think that the future is in some kind of cost-effective, resource sparing technology and that bound books will increasingly become for beauty's sake only, something closer to art and more of an ackowledgement of our desire to collect and collate, to invest ourselves in the objects we own, to surround ourselves with objects that say something about us. Perhaps in the future instead of shelves of books, we'll have a small few, displayed not spine out but like art, either front facing, or perhaps splayed open in a prominent part of the room, revealing the inner workings.

The objectifying language of bookbinding above, its erotic undertones, reminds us what a fetish the possession of books can be.

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