Carved Up Books Become Tsunamis, Volcanoes and Caves

The Kindle never looked so lame.

Books hide inner universes. It’s the greatest appeal of text, that a few simple shapes, arranged in an endless array of patterns can create unlimited meaning. They can transport you in person and time through an autobiography, or place you in another galaxy through science fiction. And despite all of this potential, our book covers show what? Artsy typography? Nude male busts?

Guan Yin is a mixed media art collection by Guy Laramee. It’s actually a reaction to the devastation of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, a reflection of and ode to the "mysterious forces thanks to which we can traverse ordeals."

But my eyes keep coming back to the books, fantastical paper landscapes that feel plucked straight from my imagination. "It’s no longer a book, but not yet a real landscape. In between. In this liminal zone—as anthropologist Victor Turner had it—lies the power of art," Laramee tells me. "I would say my work is about transcendence and the unknowable—more precisely. It is about transcending duality and about finding refuge in what cannot be reduced to the 'known,' or even the unknown. It is about feeling ‘that which sees.’ Or hear, smell, think, for that matter. The non-personal Subject." Laramee’s pieces aren’t religious, per se, though they most certainly border on that horribly unspecific genre of "spirituality."

That said, I’d still really like to read a special edition of Game of Thrones with a topographical map of Westeros inside it. Don’t judge.

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  • Chris

    No judgement here bro.  I'd love the same.  That opening sequence from Game of Thrones is killer.  Thanks for sharing, cool stuff.

  • Phil Allsopp

    Great article.

    Reminds me of the array of book sculptures that an anonymous sculpture left in Edinburgh public libraries (Scotland) after the City COuncil suggested they were about the close some of the libraries for financial reasons.  The wonderful works of art using books saved the day and the libraries remain open - and as they always were - full of people wanting to read.

    Here's a link to some images of what the anonymous sculptor left in the Edinburgh libraries.


    Phil Allsopp

  • Mark Rojas

    Amazing, its a great lesson at looking at things differently. also a nice way to recycle unused books.