For greater than a decade, Alexis Arnold has been intrigued through the evolving nature of print. Her ongoing assortment, titled Crystallized Books, transforms novels, guides, and maps into gleaming sculptures that believe how we worth and use items. “Whilst I began the collection in 2011 partially as a response to the vulnerability of published media, it’s been great to peer a go back to the cultural worth of published media whilst operating at the collection during the last 12 years. It’s additionally been attention-grabbing (and every now and then technically irritating) to peer the standard of guide printing and binding decline as I’ve been operating at the collection,” she says.
To create the works, the Oakland-based artist (in the past) submerges discovered volumes right into a sizzling bathtub of water and borax. “When water boils, its molecules make bigger, and because the saturated water cools once more, the molecules shrink and any extra borax crystallizes,” Arnold tells Colossal. Out of the swimming pools come books covered with dense, translucent clusters that stabilize the items as warped, crinkled mounds.
Since the crystals make the textual content tricky—or unattainable—to parse, the books within the collection turn out to be notable for his or her materiality. Lots of the titles Arnold works with have cultural or non-public significance, like To Kill a Mockingbird or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, whilst others reference the waning relevance of print. Box guides and maps are frequently to be had on-line, as an example, creating a guide much less essential but in addition extra valuable as a relic of instances previous.
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