Saturday, February 25, 2012

"linear in a non-linear world" Brian Dettmer Sculpts Books

Brian Dettmer is concerned about the replacement of the book - relatively tangible and lasting records of words - by intangible pixels which can be altered or which may be inaccessible as newer technology replaces the recent.  So he's sculpted books to get people to look at and think about books differently.

This one below is sculpted from "A New Garden Encyclopedia."  Look at it carefully.

From Dettmer's website:

The age of information in physical form is waning. As intangible routes thrive with quicker fluidity, material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding into the ether. Newer media swiftly flips forms, unrestricted by the weight of material and the responsibility of history. In the tangible world we are left with a frozen material but in the intangible world we may be left with nothing. History is lost as formats change from physical stability to digital distress.
The richness and depth of the book is universally respected yet often undiscovered as the monopoly of the form and relevance of the information fades over time. The book’s intended function has decreased and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. By altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions, new and unexpected roles emerge. This is the area I currently operate in. Through meticulous excavation or concise alteration I edit or dissect communicative objects or systems such as books, maps, tapes and other media. The medium’s role transforms. Its content is recontextualized and new meanings or interpretations emerge.

All these sculptures are from books.  Here's Dettmer's explanation of what he does:

"In this work I begin with an existing book and seal its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. I cut into the surface of the book and dissect through it from the front. I work with knives, tweezers and surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each layer while cutting around ideas and images of interest. Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose alternate histories and memories. My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception. "

I didn't catch the title of this one, but below is a close up of it.  Double click the image to enlarge it. 

We saw the exhibit at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco when we went to the Klezmer Concert.


  1. All I get when I click is a black screen with an exit box.

  2. Harpboy, I've just tried it and it works. It may take a while to load. Try another browser or another computer. Faster internet. Sorry you're having trouble.


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