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The Shell: Incorporating sound art practices within Book Art.


Published in The Journal of Artists' Books, 33, 2013.


How would a book sound if it could speak? Would it merely read its words aloud, or would the sounds of the worlds it inhabits pour out of its pages as well? There has long been a curiosity around how the multi-sensorial worlds described in books might be experienced when their pages are opened. In Cyrano de Bergerac’s Voyage to the Moon (1650), written in the 17th Century, he describes a special type of book as:

…a concern of metal something like one of our watches, full of curious little springs and minute machinery. It was really a book, but a wonderful book that has no leaves or letters: a book for the understanding which only the ears are necessary.

Here, de Bergerac rather magically describes the way that sound and objects could act as books. However, there are few audio books combining sophisticated sound design and diffusion with the tactility and aesthetic of paper books, and far fewer that possess the explorative and experimental characteristics of Book Art.


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