Multi Dimensional Reading and other topics

Thoughts from Shiftlab member Denise Bookwalter 

This week was a big week for Shift-lab, we were awarded the 2013 Printeresting micro-grant for our project [in code]! We are excited about the support of the project and look forward to what is to come.  The project [in code], is a collaborative project by Shift-lab that highlights platforms of communication. We are interested in the physical limitation of communication in both the physical and digital world. We will play with the comparison of the letterpress job case and the digital character set, the composing stick and the 140-character limit of a tweet. Despite these physical limitations, the possibilities are endless. You can see this project in person in January in Salt Lake City during the College Book Art Association Conference and in March in San Francisco during the Southern Graphics International Conference. For more details here is a link to our exhibition page.

We began talking about this project in the summer and since then I have been meaning to get a Twitter account and use it.  Prompted by our grant and getting our blog up and running, thank you Sarah, it was time for me to get on the social media bandwagon and get a Twitter account. Last week I did it, I signed up for a Twitter account. I was sorry to see that I couldn’t fit my whole name as a username so went with @DBBookwalter.  I have eleven followers and have made ten tweets. It is a meager start but who knows where it will go.

So far one of the most interesting things I found on Twitter was an article on the new book "S" by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. It is a multidimensional reading experience that seems like it should be read in the physical book format but is also sold as a digital audio book and an eBook. It comes with marginalia and objects inserted into the pages. I am curious about how something that relies on the physicality of the book can translate to an audio version. A quote from Graeme McMillan’s November 1st review in Wired "For all its mysteries and intrigues, this is a book about the value of books, and what they can offer us that other storytelling mediums cannot." My copy is back-ordered, so I am going to have to wait to hold it in my hand to decipher its objectiveness and the alternate experience of reading.

I think about how we read books a lot. I am interested in the book as a medium and how we understand what to do with it. In conjunction with the inherent understanding of the book I am also interested in how much we can alter it and still understand what to do with it. How can we expand the reading experience? Many times the reading experience is a singular pursuit, but what happens when it becomes a group experience?

For our collaborative book project I am not as far along with mock-ups and dummies as Sarah is but I have bits and pieces that will hopefully coalesce into something by the next time I write on this blog. Until then I will be thinking about shifts in the reading experience.


S JJ Abrams.jpg
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