Tag Archives: books

How the British Library Digitized One of the World’s Largest Books 

The Klencke Atlas published in 1660 is one of the most famous objects in the British Library's cartographic collection, a towering book that stands nearly 6 feet tall and reaches over seven feet wide when open. For over three centuries the atlas was the largest in existence, surpassed only five years ago by Millennium House's gigantic publication Earth Platinum.

The collection of maps was named after Johannes Klencke (1620-1672), the leader of a collection of Dutch sugar merchants who presented the atlas to Charles II as a hope to gain favorable trade agreements with Britain. The object was subsequently placed amongst the king’s most prized possessions, and stayed tied to royalty for the next 150 years.

“The Klencke atlas is important both in itself, and for its constituent parts,” said Tom Harper, lead curator of antiquarian maps at the British Library in an article about the atlas. “As an object, its scale and conception recalled Renaissance ideas relating to the symbolic power of a book which contained the entire world’s knowledge. It would have provided Charles with intellectual authority, an authority which enforces its intimidating presence even today.”

The Klencke Atlas went on public view in 2010 after considerable restoration, and was digitized by the British Library just last month. It took several hands to transport and mount the ancient work onto an XXXL book stand for high resolution photography, and digitization took several days in order to capture each of the included maps. You can view this online version of the atlas on the British Library’s website, and watch a time-lapse video of the digitization process supported by Daniel Crouch Rare Books. (via Hyperallergic)

See related posts on Colossal about , .

The Guggenheim Museum Shares Over 200 Free Art Books Through the Internet Archive 

Over the last few years, the Guggenheim Museum has slowly released an impressive library of modern and historic art books in collaboration with the Internet Archive. The rare and out-of-print titles include books about Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Paul Klee, Jenny Holzer, Joseph Cornell, as well as several exhibition catalogs and books about the museum itself. You’ll also find publications on wide ranging topics from the Russian and Soviet avant-garde movement to collections of Chinese and Aztec art.

Many of the books first books appeared online in 2012 and the collection has grown to include over 200 titles that can be viewed online or downloaded in PDF or ePub formats. You can see the full collection here. (via The Creators Project, My Modern Met)

See related posts on Colossal about , .

Magnificent New Carved Book Landscapes and Architecture by Guy Laramée 

Montreal-based artist Guy Laramée (previously) recently unveiled a new body of sculptural work, highlighting his evolving ability to excavate mountainous landscapes, cavernous hollows, and sloping watersheds from the dense pages of repurposed books. One of his favorite mediums are bound stacks of old dictionaries and encyclopedias which he carves using a method of sandblasting to which he later applies oil paints, inks, pigments and dry pastels, crayon, adhesives, and beeswax. When photographed up close the works appear almost realistic, as if the viewer is looking at aerial or satellite topographies of Earth. You can explore more of Laramée’s latest work at JHB Gallery.

See related posts on Colossal about , , , .

The Vanishing Stepwells of India: A New Book by Victoria Lautman Documents the Fading Relics of Subterranean Wells 

Van Talab Baoli. Amer, Rajasthan. c. 1600/19th Century.

Scattered across India’s vast landscape of ancient architecture including temples, mosques, and palaces are an often overlooked relic of historic infrastructure called stepwells. These subterranean buildings, once numbered in the thousands, were originally dug into the landscape so residents could easily access water. Over time, stepwells grew increasingly elaborate in their construction, morphing from modest rock-cut holes into fully functional Hindu temples with ornate columns, stairwells, and shrines. Each well now serves as a fading structural fingerprint, diverse and unique as the communities that designed and built them.

Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman first peeked over the edge of a stepwell some 30 years ago and was immediately transfixed at the idea of staring down into an architectural wonder as opposed to looking up. She has since dedicated much of the last five years criss-crossing India over several years to locate and photograph as many wells as possible. We first mentioned Lautman’s discoveries back in 2015, after which she resumed trips to India to locate an additional 60 wells, bringing the grand total to over 200 sites she’s personally visited and documented.

“Descending into the earth is a profound experience, one in which sweltering heat turns to enveloping cool, and noises become hushed,” she writes about encountering the wells.

After centuries of neglect some stepwells are in perilous condition or have vanished altogether, while others have been thoughtfully maintained by surrounding communities or governments who recognize their significance and possess the will (and funding) to restore them. In an attempt to preserve their legacy, Lautman has gathered a visual tour of 75 of the more unique and interesting wells in a new book titled The Vanishing Stepwells of India. The book includes not only her original photography, but also her impressions about each well and the precise GPS coordinates of their locations.

It remains to be seen if the renewed interest in stepwells, as well as the accompanying tourist dollars, will drive the change to save them. “In the long-run,” Lautman tells Colossal, “I think the most helpful thing for stepwells is simply acknowledging their existence in history and guidebooks, through classes and specialized tours, and finally just seeing them up close, embedded in the landscape.” Another way to explore the wells is through the Atlas of Stepwells, a website where enthusiasts can share their own discoveries.

The Vanishing Stepwells of India with a foreword by Divay Gupta, is published by Merrell and is available now.

Ramkund. Bhuj, Gujarat. Mid-18th Century (c. 700 CE).

Mukundpura Baoli. Mukundpura, Haryana c. 1650.

Ujala Baoli Mandu. Madhya Pradesh. Late 15th/early 16th century.

Chand Baori. Abhaneri, Rajasthan. c. 800 ce/18th Century.

Batris Kotha Vav. Kaoadvanj, Gujarat c. 1120.

Dada Harir Vav. Asarwa. c. 1499

Navghan Kuvo. Junagadh, Gujarat. 4th/6th/Mid-11th Century.


See related posts on Colossal about , , , .

New Discarded Books Transformed Into Crystallized Sculptures by Alexis Arnold 

“In the Shade of Vines” (2016)

San Francisco-based artist Alexis Arnold (previously) looks to isolate the material rather than the content of the books she freezes in time, calling attention to both their physicality and quickly diminishing presence in our day-to-day lives. Utilizing borax crystals Arnold sprouts hardened, iridescent forms from a publication’s pages, posing the work more like a natural artifact rather than human detritus. Culling through discarded and found texts, she chooses those that seem to hold the greatest metaphorical weight. These selected titles are often those centered around advances in technology or wonders of our natural earth—Arnold subtly gesturing to how many experiences we leave behind as computers continue to gradually store the bulk of our collective knowledge. You can see more of Arnold’s crystallized works on her website and Instagram.

“In the Shade of Vines” (2016)

“The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass” (2016)

“The Complete Book of Crochet” (2016)

“Hugh Johnson’s Story of Wine” (2016)

“The Art and Adventure of Beekeeping” (2016)

“The Art and Adventure of Beekeeping” (2016)

“Napa Valley: The Land, The Wine, The People” (2016)

See related posts on Colossal about , , , .

360° Earth and the Moon Book by Yusuke Oono 

360-1

Book designer Yusuke Oono creates small books that unfold into 360° scenes revealing everything from fairy tales to high-end vehicles. His latest creation is a laser-cut Earth and Moon surrounded by clouds, stars, UFOs and other orbiting objects. Oono was born in Germany and was trained as an architect at the University of Tokyo, lending his design skills and understanding of materials to the concept of his innovative sculpture books.

The Earth & Moon book is now available in the Colossal Shop. Also check out his lovely Mt. Fuji book.

360-3

360-4

360-5

360-6

cover

See related posts on Colossal about , , .

Page 1 of 281234...»