After organizing our bookshelf almost a year ago (http://youtu.be/zhRT-PM7vpA), my wife and I (Sean Ohlenkamp) decided to take it to the next level. We spent many sleepless nights moving, stacking, and animating books at Type bookstore in Toronto (883 Queen Street West, (416) 366-8973).
Everything you see here can be purchased at Type Books.
Grayson Matthews (http://www.graysonmatthews.com/) generously composed the beautiful, custom music. You can download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/awakenings-single/id496796623
Now, despite the obvious charms of this piece, which is kind of a Toy Story for books, it is not without its critics. My friend Bob Blechman, who recently published a book of his own, Executive Severance, which I told you all about in my last post, Twistery Illustrated, left the following critical comment when I shared the video over on Facebook (and since he left the comment on my profile page, I figure I have enough rights to it to include it here, so don't go get on your sopa box about theft of intellectual property or nothing):
So...books become animated, that is, the content of animation. A book shop seems like the memory core of a mainframe computer. Display of visible movement of books on shelves replaces static perusal of stationary text. Though marvelous in scope and execution, this film has nothing to do with the process of reading, which is what books are really all about. Nice promotion for animation though.
Bob's comments remind me of Neil Postman's critique of Sesame Street, that the use of television and televisual techniques, including commercial advertising formats, to teach about the alphabet and reading, in effect taught much more about watching television than anything else. But then again, why shouldn't Bob echo Neil, since Bob was one of Neil's students, hence his self-described status as a model media ecologist.
And while I will grant Bob his point, I do think that this video is a celebration of the book as an object, the look and visual appeal of the book, of books, plural, in great number. It captures something of the love affair of book lovers with the object of their affections, or if you prefer, their fetish. I would go so far as to say, along the lines of some of McLuhan's commentary, that the video appeals to the tactile quality of book fondling (a topic Gary Gumpert used to bring up in his Mass Media lecture class, which I did lecture support for when I was an MA student), and even the scent, the aroma, the olfactory appeal of this most substantial of print media.