Tuesday, 29 December 2009



HERE'S news of a new e-book format that's not limited by e-inkiness and could be perfect for the iSlate coming soon. Kurtzweil's BLIO sounds good to me.

2009 high points

Find more videos like this on 24 hr book

This 24hr Book video gets across the atmosphere of the weekend a group of us worked together on making A Vauxhall Chorus, a collaborative book which left all involved feeling excited by the potential of this way of making fiction.

Monday, 28 December 2009

piracy 3D

..and thanks to Bob for this link

Happy Nearly New Year

Thanks to Pat and Trevor for finding this wonderful music machine by Felix Thorne.

Monday, 21 December 2009

future of the book tv

Canadian TV debate including the Institute's own Bob Stein

Friday, 18 December 2009

urban feb

Blue skies for a snowy day

Sarah Butler writes about two forthcoming UrbanWords events:

Know Your Place
First of all, a heads up about Know Your Place, a panel debate discussing the role and value of writing residencies, hosted by UrbanWords and Spread the Word on 2nd February 2010. Writers-in-residence can now be found in many places: at airports, bus stations, in shops and even on the Tube. But what impact do these residencies really have on the people, places and organisations involved, and how do they, in turn, shape the writing that's created? What are the objectives of those who employ writers this way, and what impact do these have on the writers themselves? What role do writers have - and what role could they have - in regeneration and place-making?

Join writers Lemn Sissay, Kat Joyce and Sarah Butler, plus Tamsin Dillon (Head of Art on the Underground), Charles Beckett (Arts Council England) and Emma Hewett (Director of Spread the Word) for a lively debate in the fabulous German Gym, a Grade II listed building in King's Cross, now redeveloped as the visitor centre for the King's Cross Central Development, one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe.
The event runs from 6.00 - 8.00pm on Tuesday 2nd February. Feel free to join us at 5.30pm for a free, short introductory talk on the King's Cross development.
Find out more and book tickets on Spread the Word's website.

Writing in Three Dimensions
UrbanWords has commissioned the poet, Linda France, to share her experience of and ideas about writing and public art. Writing in Three Dimensions is an engaging article, discussing the difference between writing for the page and writing for a place. You can download it for free from A Place For Words.

Meanwhile I'm delighted to be guest blogging for the next few weeks at Apples & Snakes' splendid website www.myplaceoryours.org.uk

pow zap kablam

Pablo Xpectro pointed this out. Comics arrive on the screens where their spin-off games already reside.


Eoin Purcell on The Gutenberg Revolution

Thursday, 17 December 2009

short sentences

“Lydia Davis's “The Cows” is like a story Ludwig Wittgenstein might have written about cows after first going insane.” – James Warner, identitytheory.com

The Electric Literature present the 6th installment of their video series, “Single Sentence Animations.” Authors choose their favorite sentences from their stories in Electric Literature who give them to 'brilliant but unhinged animators'.

Here artist Donna K.’s riff off a sentence from Lydia Davis’s “The Cows”

Electric Literature was founded by writers. Our mission is to use innovative distribution and new media to keep literature a vital part of popular culture.
More at www.electricliterature.com.

picture post

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

Thanks to Apt / Enhanced Editions for this elegant essay on magazine-yness

palely loitering

La Belle Dame Sans Merci from David Soden on Vimeo.

On the Transliteracy.com website, Sue Thomas writes that she had challenged students with computer science backgrounds to memorise a few stanzas of Keats. She was "very surprised when, a few days later, Dave Soden, one of those students, sent me this link. He had set La Belle Dame Sans Merci to music and performed it himself with a guitar accompaniment. The result? This haunting and memorable song." And it is.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

unlibraries - a vision

Once upon a time books were made of parchment and carried around in buckets. Then came the codex, designed by early Christians as a means to fix the canon and make sure no one glued extra bits onto the end of scrolls. The first books, hand written by teams of monks, cost a fortune. Gutenberg invented the printing press but went bankrupt when his invention failed to catch on. It took the Reformation to make publishing commercially viable, when every faction going was producing new tracts and pamphlets. The paperback provided cheap portable fiction for the troops and the workers.

The e-reader briefly bridged the gap between page and screen, but soon every laptop and mobile was a platform for prose. Far from killing literature, new devices led to a renaissance of artworks mixing text and images, sounds and conversations. The book was no longer defined as an object but as an experience, a unit of meaning, some of which were produced in beautiful, customised printed form, others in lavish online editions. But perhaps surprisingly the term remained—thanks to Macbooks and Facebook, Audiobooks, Digibooks, Skybooks, ifbooks etc, but the term was used to include events, performances, recordings, websites which demanded a certain level of attention. And all books were also communities, though mostly quiet ones, like library users silently sharing the same virtual space.

Libraries used to contain copies of works that were otherwise inaccessible to people without parting with their cash. Books were chained to desks, then loaned out for short periods, then after culture went up to the cloud, their role became really important, providing a safe local space in which to meet real people with the expertise and ideas to help us each explore our particular interest.

Where once people had been intimidated but uplifted in places of culture such as theatres and libraries, now all content emanated from the same devices. There was no longer any need to differentiate much between movies, books, ifbooks, pop music and opera. Whereas once these commodities were sold and performed in completely different places for different prices, now all was stuff, funded from the licence.

So we needed to create new means to uplift the spirit and encourage deeper attention and focus. Unlibraries flourished—designed to inspire and intrigue through displays, events and atmospheres which helped minds to expand; they sold and loaned out souvenirs of intellectual journeys undertaken there, were havens for debate and the simple, basic pleasures of social networking.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

'knowledge is porridge' - the thick of it

HERE is the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's new review of public libraries, presented in a format based on the Institute for the Future of the Book's CommentPress, and featuring an article by me!

Rachel Cooke wrote in the Guardian, "The document has a title so hilariously nebulous, not even the writers of The Thick of It could improve on it. "Empower, Inform, Enrich" – sounds like a scented candle"

I was involved in the DCMS consultation process much earlier on, then sent in my piece on a vision of the Unlibrary of the Future when I heard they had commissioned articles. It didn't cross my mind that it would actually be published. so when I was invited to the launch as an author, I assumed it was an administrative error. Imagine my surprise...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

FIL 09 - "El mundo del libro en el futuro"

HERE is a short film about the Future of the Book, from FIL, the Guadalajara Bookfair.
"There are still four hundred books on how to make a salad..." - Michael Kruger

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

guadalajara bookfair

we are not gadgets

Wonderful Olly Moss cover design for Penguin - more information HERE (via read 2.0 list which i've recently joined and is now pouring into my inbox)

nouvelle vague

Thanks to Mike Cane for pointing out this English subtitled version of this French film on our bookfuture.

good night

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

gigogne's kitchen

I was so sorry to miss the MAC exhibition in Paris this November where my friend Julie Dalmon de St Gast showed these amazing glass objects, props from the performance piece she involved me in writing many years ago, my first online collaboration. Gigogne's Kitchen was very well received I hear and may be travelling to other venues - and maybe one day the whole work will be brought into existence.