Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Your House

One of my favorite books in the collection is only five years old and contains just a single page of printed text. There are no words in Your House except for the colophon, (the note at the end of the volume which records the details of authorship and publication) -- just the negative space left from laser-cutting each of its 484 leaves.

Artist Olafur Eliasson designed the text block of Your House so that each leaf corresponds to just over two centimeters of horizontal space inside his own home. Turning the pages is a process of constantly discovering new spaces and details as we move through the house. All that's visible from the first few pages are a few doors and windows, but the house quickly opens up into a delicately detailed home complete with domed ceilings, a fireplace, and even a spiral staircase.

When the text block is initially opened, the spine of the book is vertical and the house aligns perfectly. But spine begins to move sideways to accommodate the turning of the pages, skewing the interior space and forcing the reader to look sideways to see into the house. The movement of the pages has other effects, too; even though Your House looks like a solid block of pages from the outside, that the cuts made into each page have resulted in a structure so delicate that the simple act of turning a page can warp a window frame or tear a step from a staircase.

Ask for Presses L559ely to see Eliasson's house for yourself.

Posted for Anne Peale '11

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