Thursday, 30 September 2010

#homepages - a collaborative poem for national poetry day

Help to write a collaborative poem to celebrate National Poetry Day.
From now until the end of the day before National Poetry Day, if:book’s Director Chris Meade and if:book associated Kati Rynne will be gathering in tweets, emails and posts to the writing forum and shaping them into a very special poem on the
theme of home for the digital age.
the opening line of the poem has been supplied by award winning poet and poet-in-residence, Daljit Nagra. 

To follow the poem's progress, sign up free to the digltal literature network and, for those on Twitter, simply use the hashtag #homepages and follow @ifbook.

Throughout the day on Wednesday 6th October, Chris and Kati will be publishing chunks of the text and reporting on its progress at the ifsoflo ning and on, . They will be working live on the poem at the Unlibrary, a new space for creative collaboration being developed with Haringey Council at Hornsey Library in North London.
Chris Meade is working with the Poetry Society to develop a network of young poets said, "This is a fantastic opportunity to make a crowd sourced poem exploring the concept of home for people who now have so many friends and favourite places online.
Previous if:book collaborations include the 24hr book, a novel written by 20 authors, edited, printed and launched over one weekend.
"We'll wait and see what happens before deciding how best to present the finished work, but we're looking forward to publishing and or performing it somehow." said Chris. 
Copyright of the final poem will belong to if:book who will aim to credit the authors and, should  we ever generate income from it, we will put the money into running other collaborative projects in the future. if:book is a charitable company.

Daljit’s opening line is:

My sofa wobbled with laughter beneath me

What next? It's up to you!

sunshine coast art

An interview with Leah Barclay, an astounding composer, one of the NeoGeographer artists I met and worked with on the Sunshine Coast of Australia this May.

"Leah Barclay, sound manipulator... has taken a pivotal step in creating an innovative work of global value in the preservation of cultural heritage. The work is called “Sound Mirrors.” Leah travelled across Australia, India, Korea, China and Hong Kong to capture the sound for this work. Her interactive installation opens at the Noosa Regional Gallery, on Friday October 8th.
She talks Mark Rodriquez about it."

Another NeoGeographer doing wonderful work is Judy Barrass , maker of books as art who is 
aka Juanita Deharo in Second Life where she owns, operates and exhibits at ‘The Fine Art Gallery’.
Judy/Juanita has done much to encourage the creation of digital artists books in Second Life, texts you (or rather your avatar) can walk into and interact with. 

As part of NeoGeography she's been running workshops in the library at Noosa making zines with a wide range of library users.

In an article about the project she writes:

"I trained and worked as a journalist in the early part of my working career and have written and/or illustrated a few non-fiction books over the years. As a visual artist I majored in fibre at art school, but I started working in artist books after spending a couple of years doing some Paper and Book units at University of Tasmania in the early 1990’s. Artists who work in this genre are interested in, and incessantly debating, questions that surround definitions of the book and reading. As part of this project it has been an interesting experience for me to come into contact with writers and to see their different perspective on these issues.
I also work as a new media artist and have been making, and researching  the concept of, ‘virtual books’, which are something quite different to digitised books.  One of the spin-offs from working in this project and coming into contact with writers and the people from If-Book will be that I am now planning to explore this area more deeply, and perhaps  will try to build a bridge between what is happening in the world of artist books and the world of writing. This is probably something for the future. I want to explore the notion of reading and literacy through the creation of virtual artist books, as well as my traditional work."

Monday, 27 September 2010


Bottle from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.

Recommended by Tim @Moongolfer Wright - a gem.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Friday, 24 September 2010

now who sent me this... can't remember where it's from

wham! splat! pow!

Self Made Hero found this wonderful blog full of close up examples of the beauty of the four colour printing process.

Ah - you can't beat the look, feel and colour of a REAL comic. Mind you, they look fantastic on the iPad too.

brain drain?

L'Ecume des Pages

174 boulevard Saint-Germain

The book is Roger Ikor's Sons of Avrom. The Mixed Waters

via Alain Pierrot.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

desk of books

"This morning here is a fairly large office because it consists entirely of books!
The idea is a dream for its ingenuity and simplicity and also allows reuse of old magazines, old books, etc.. So perfect for lovers of words, pages and paper .. Finally, designers and librarians ;-)It'll just monitor libraries that books with a pestle or generous donor"

- Googlified translation from, found by Alain Pierrot.

Now I want to make one of these.

And Dora sent me a link to a classy use of Google maps.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

These Books Are Made For Talking

My Frankfurt Event (and irrelevant but wonderful video)

Date and Time: Thursday, October 7 at 2.30 pm
Venue: Centre for Politics, Literature and Translation Hall 5.0 D 941 Salon E953
Literature in a Digital World
Digital media are having a profound influence on the ways in which literature is written, distributed, promoted and received today. From the infinite fluidity of word-processed text and the potentially infinite digital publishing volume to the multiplicity of forums and social networks through which literature is promoted and discussed, literary works now exist in a immeasurable space without boundaries and demarcations. What impact does this have on the very form and content of literature being written today, as well as on literary debate and promotion?

Thursday, 16 September 2010


The neologism Bookfuturism was coined by writer Joanne McNeill. It seems to inspire the term Bookfutures, the eponymous blog of Chris Meade, director of the Institute for the Future of London. It is especially to be included in its theoretical foundations, by Tim Carmody, editor of Wired Gadget Lab has created a group on the subject and a manifesto, published in the journal The Atlantic.

- The Google translation of this article from Le Monde

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

free reading

Friday 1 October, 7pm – 8pm

BBC Radio 3 - A little bit of Free Thinking
Is the book dead?

Tickets Free

Will printed paper or powered screens be the way we read in the future, and will this make any difference to the way we read, or even the way we write?

Ahead of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking festival at The Sage Gateshead in November, an expert panel, including David Almond (author of the prize-winning novel Skellig), and Chris Meade of the Institute for the Future of the Book, meet to discuss the future of reading in front of a live audience of avid readers. 

As yet another way to read books electronically is launched onto the market - and one that experts predict will make this a mainstream activity - some are concerned that innovations like the iPad impede our imagination, shorten our attention span and make us intellectually shallow, while others argue that they do precisely the opposite.

The popularity of print-on-demand books available online suggest that there is still a huge appetite for reading a physical book, even when a digital version is easily available from the same source. So can digital books enhance our reading experience or do they diminish it? 

Tickets free – please come and join us.  To reserve your place call 01665 604888 or email, or ask in the shop. 

This event will be broadcast in BBC Radio 3’s Night Waves on Thursday 14 October at 9.15pm

Friday, 10 September 2010


"UTSA officials announced Thursday the opening of the Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) Library, the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. The 80-person capacity library, which caters to College of Sciences and College of Engineering students, is a satellite of the larger John Peace Library on the Main Campus.

"Electronic research is central to the AET Library. Instead of storing printed volumes, the library offers students a rapidly growing collection of electronic resources including 425,000 e-books and 18,000 e-journal subscriptions. Skilled science and engineering librarians are available during library hours to help students who need research assistance."

Thanks to Peter Brantley, via Read 2.0



Thanks to poet Klare Lanson for spotting this exhibition, based on a notion similar to HOTBOOK , our school's project (which we're eager for feedback on for our final report!)

A solar flare wipes the world's electronic media stores clean. Electricity no longer flows. And a new dark age begins, along with a new form of storytelling. It's all chronicled in a strange art show from the future.
Artist Stephen Hendee's new show, Dark Age Era North America: The Ice Next Time, is on display right now at Las Vegas' Barrick Museum - but it's set in 2429
"Before the chaos, most of the world's libraries and archives had been converted into digital formats. Paper books became antiquated and though cherished by many, the production and distribution of book editions had diminished to a trickle and completely ceased more than a decade before the disruption. It is obvious to us now during the event of 2026, we lost nearly the entirety of human historical record. It was no small tragedy that most print paper had already become uncommon, but compounding this problem the electricity used to run all other informational archives both public and personal disappeared almost overnight. Unaware of the scope of the unfolding events anything that could be burned for warmth or cooking was used for survival, including most of the remaining books and paper.
"For as many who wandered looking simply for food and clean water there were as many in shock that their lives, location, and history had been erased. Individuals and then groups became recognized for their ability to remember and re-record the history of collective memory among the survivors. Traveling storytellers became an instrumental part of community life. The arrival of those reciting their personal and handed down memories was met with excitement and anticipation.
"Many storytellers would travel with lightweight banners often painted with a list of authors or stories they were keen to perform. Sometimes these selections were an assortment of fragmentary works, with others the oeuvre of specific authors might be the focus, or single works of literature that would be recited over many nights. Central meeting places became a social hub of storytelling, music, shared communal knowledge, and history."

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Augmented City 3D from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

I've been talking about how useful it would be to click on people in real life to read their tag cloud - but this impressive impression of what augmented life might be like is kinda nightmarish - and takes ages to load.

speaking volumes

"I talked about Wikipedia because for me, Wikipedia is a useful subset of the entire internet, and as such a subset of all human culture. It’s not only a resource for collating all human knowledge, but a framework for understanding how that knowledge came to be and to be understood; what was allowed to stand and what was not; what we agree on, and what we cannot.
As is my wont, I made a book to illustrate this. Physical objects are useful props in debates like this: immediately illustrative, and useful to hang an argument and peoples’ attention on."
Read the rest of James Bridle's thoughts on historiography and Wikipedia at 

more lovely french book art sourced by Alain Pierrot and found at 

Monday, 6 September 2010

teaching in tibet

Via Ksenia Petrova in Moscow comes this amazing work opportunity:

Tibetan school in the Ragya settlement (Golok Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Amdo/Qinghai province, China) needs an English teacher-volunteer, preferable with the basic knowledges of Chinese or Tibetan languages.

There are about one thousand students (Tibetans), from the age of 6 to 17, in this school. The Ragya settlement is 417 km (10 hours by bus) far from Xining city (the centre of Qinghai province). It’s about 3700 meters above the sea level, on the Yellow river, near the biggest Gelug-pa monastery - Ragya and about 80 km far from the Machen (Dawu) settlement, 3 hours far from the sacred mountain Amnye Machen.

It’s a Tibetan remote place, in the middle of the Himalaya mountains, with nomadic families, yaks and flocks of sheep around. A picturesque place but with a rigorous mountainous climate. The school is providing/covering: - a place to live (not very comfortable - there is no well-developed infrastructure, - but maximum is what they can have); - meals (at school dining hall + rations); - basic needs (as far as possible);- helping with Chinese visa (under discussion with a final candidate);- Tibetan language classes (Amdo dialect).

For questions, please, write to:

Thursday, 2 September 2010

musical interlude

Mumford & Sons during a dry moment at Green Man Festival


I Wish I Was in Florida, Exhibition of sundrenched works by if:book associate Toni Le Busque

October 14th for 2 weeks, Witney Art Studios 64A High Street, Witney

electric home library

From 1959--

"Another pushbutton development will be projection of microfilm books on the ceiling or wall in large type. To increase their impact on students, an electronic voice may accompany the visual passages."

It's "closer than we think!"

From Gregory Britton via Read 2.0


Tilt, run by Dermot Egan, founder of the Hub featured in this CNN clip, is working with if:book on the plans for the Unlibrary in Hornsey, involving a community of potential users in co-design and co-making of the space.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

update september 2010

if:book london, the think and do tank exploring the future of the book, was set up by Chris Meade in 2007, in partnership with the Institute for the Future of the Book in New York.
You can keep in touch with if:book by reading the blog, following @ifbook on Twitter. Here's an update of our recent activities which we've sent out. 
Please do send a lonk to any you think might be interested. 


Over the past few months Chris has been been speaking about if:book and the future of the book - to publishers in a print works in Padua; to teachers, academics, writers, students, artists and readers in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane where if:book Australia has been founded as part of the Queenland Writers Centre; at a conference in Salamanca, with the British Council at the Moscow Book Fair. He was writer in residence for a weekend at The Edge digital centre in Brisbane, and advisor to the 3Cs collaborative arts project on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. 

Back in the UK we launched the Seize The Time initiative, talking to literature professionals in Birmingham, Leeds and London about the sector's role in the curation and illumination of literature online;
attended the Channel 4 Education Conference and a day for Social Entrepreneurs on ‘The Big Society’, organized by the Big Society Network and Unltd, funders of social enterprises.

In June if:book associates Sasha Hoare and Toni Le Busque produced a fabulous digital sampler of work by the mentored writers on the Arvon Foundation’s Clore Duffield funded scheme, called All These Things Are True and Not True.

WONDA, the Writer Without Residence project, funded by QCDA, ran for three very hectic weeks in three London primary schools, with author Aoife Mannix, Kati Rynne and Chris responding to hundreds of questions from delighted students. We are now considering how to develop this template as a product for schools.

Meanwhile if:book’s first CPD day for teachers, run in Berkshire in June, was a big success and will lead to an ongoing relationship with schools there.

Chris has recently published posts on the TOC Tools Of Change in Publishing blog and, the digital blog of the Bookseller. 

A major interview with Bob Stein was published recently in Canopy magazine. In June Bob Stein spoke at an event at the Hospital club Covent Garden on Future Scenarios for the Publishing Industry.



We will soon be announcing details of an exciting new project in partnership with a national literature organisation.

We are in the process of setting up the first ever Unlibrary at Hornsey Library and preparing for a Future of the Bookshop project with the University of Melbourne next summer. We’re also working with, publishers of the first children’s books on the iPhone and iPad, exploring their use in schools.

This autumn Chris  is running a workshop at Booktrust, speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair, STATIONERY, an International conference on the future of publishing in Freiburg,  a conference on 21st Century New Way of Reading in Lisbon, chairing a discussion at the Poole Literature Festival's first New Media Writing prize.. and more.

We will be running two IFSO Unconferences on AMPLIFIED AUTHORS, for writers, teachers and literature development professionals, funded by Arts Council England.

Our digital school resource THE HOTBOOK is still available free from, funded by the Esme Fairbairn Foundation. 
Hundreds of secondary schools have downloaded and used the software, We'll be using this project as the basis for a package of materials for schools. 

We’re revamping the site which will become the main network for all if:book activities and a community of writers, teachers, literature development workers. Please join! 

Chris is also planning a project to create a community and a physical space dedicated to discussion of the academic text 
How Power Corrupts by Ricardo Blaug, as a pilot for curating debate around other academic works that deserve wider readership. The SLED (Student Led Discussion) project at Leeds University will partner with if:book on this. 

It’s hard to plan very far ahead in the current economic climate, but if:book is at the forefront of an area which is of top priority in education and publishing; we’re building links with social network marketing, social enterprise, new and more and traditional media – and there’s clear evidence that people around the world are interested in what we have to say. 


THANKS for your interest and support

nice animation