Let's face it...books are going the way of music. Like iPods, Kindles and Nooks are on the rise; like mp3s, eBooks take only a second to buy; and like music stores, bookstores are closing their doors. But, I have faith that unlike music, more people prefer to hold a physical book than they do a CD, and I'd like to believe that both eBooks and book-books can happily coexist...at least for longer than it took for digital music to become king (also, may I just point out that no one can hold a record or CD or cassette and still use it, while holding the book is the whole point). Either way, there are some things you just cannot do with a download...like fold the pages, scribble notes (in your own handwriting), take a whiff of yellowed pages, display it on a shelf, and perhaps most importantly...make art.
Yes, art. Well-made books are art, and they've also become the crux of Brian Dettmer's artistic life. Perhaps no artist can better exemplify just how the-book-as-an-object can inspire and live on. Dettmer uses knives and tweezers to dissect encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries, tapes and other media. Impose Magazine recently ran a feature on Dettmer, where he discussed and showcased his unique art. When asked about the possibility of books becoming obsolete, here's what he had to say:
I don’t think that the book will ever die. Painting never died, punk never died (but it did get old and sad), and books will never die but they will evolve. Certain types of books will certainly be rare if not nonexistent in the future. I think the book is the perfect format for the novel and other fiction, but as a reference tool, it has been passed-up by the Internet. We may not see encyclopedias, dictionaries and textbooks continuing in printed form. The content needs to be updated constantly and the structure of most information is non-linear. This is why the Internet works so well for certain types of information. The structure and nature of constant adaptation of the web is perfect for much of the reference information that used to be delegated to books, but we also need to think about preservation and solidity. If everything is constantly updated we have no way of accessing the personal and cultural records from the past.
Well said, sir! KEEP READING to see what he has to say about the "but it's better for the environment!" argument, and to see more of his fascinating "sculptures"...