Data + Design Project

Mountains of Books Become Mountains

Thursday 12.22.2011 , Posted by
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I thought I’d seen every type of book carving imaginable, until I ran across these jaw dropping creations by Guy Laramee. His works are so sculptural, so movingly natural in their form, they’ve really touched me. His works are inspired by a fascination with so-called progress in society: a thinking which says the book is dead, libraries are obsolete and technology is the only way of the future. His thoughts:

“One might say: so what? Do we really believe that “new technologies” will change anything concerning our existential dilemma, our human condition? And even if we could change the content of all the books on earth, would this change anything in relation to the domination of analytical knowledge over intuitive knowledge? What is it in ourselves that insists on grabbing, on casting the flow of experience into concepts?”

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Carving into the discarded stacks of books, he has created fantastic, romantic landscapes which remind us that though our fascinations and the value we put on different ideas have changed, we as a species have not evolved that much.

“Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.”

See more of his beautifully meditative works at guylaramee.com.

Via: etoday.ru

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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Comments

  1. I love books. And THAT just blew my mind!!! Carving books to that multitude is indescribable!!!!!!

  2. While I understand the sentiments of those who do not want to see a book ‘wasted’, I agree with Librarian above; I’ve seen literal mountains of books wasted – that somebody recycles books which will likely never be cracked again is not a waste to me at all.

  3. Somebody should do this to the Twilight books.

  4. Fantastic carvings. I don’t agree with people who call the alteration of books “a crime”. So many books just sit and rot in basements. I would never destroy a true collectible book but there are tons of out dated, never to be read books available. This art is sooooooo much better than a moldy book. Keep carving Mr. Laramee!

  5. thanks wilfred. this just goes to show that there are no limits to the imagination of the human being.

  6. wow… way to just totally destroy all other forms of carved-book art!

  7. It is a real split-brain experience. Destroying books, bad. Salvaging them to create
    something beautifully crafted and stimulating, good. I have a set of Britannica right
    beside me. Sadly I hardly ever use the 1968 set anymore, unless I want something
    ‘in depth’ … congratulations, Guy … clever.

  8. I come from a family of book lovers, including very committed collectors and a full librarian. I agree with Jan about the split-brain experience…the art is beautiful, but I had to fight to keep my stomach from being upset while I appreciated it!

  9. These are amazing! Now I know what we can do with my husband’s ancient Encyclopedia Britanica set! :D

  10. MOTHER OF GOD!

  11. Who reads these days anyway?
    A true book worm.

  12. This is such a beautiful work of art. I do value books and love reading books. Becaause of the Internet. The use of brittanica has dwindled and probably the sales of that has slumped altogether. I have a set that almost looks brand new but never use it now and it can be used for some book carving this way and it would not go to waste. It will be preserved in another form

  13. They’re all astonishing, but the Petra is my favourite. Glorious.

  14. Get a kindle or nook people. Quit bitching about books being destroyed.. The useless, out dated encyclopedia’s being recycled into art everyone can enjoy is a great idea. My compliments to the artist. Keep up the amazing work.

  15. This is a crime. That’s hundreds of books people could be reading instead of seeing them destroyed. I love art too, But this is just wrong. It could be done with anything, but the one thing that’s makes people more intelligent…

  16. The geology of books…

  17. Fantastic Creativity!!! The only need was the captions for each photo.

  18. Now if we could come up with something fun to make out of old National Geographic magazines…

  19. I’ve watched donated books go to the library. And when no one picks them up for a quick sale, out they go. Gone forever. To a dumpster.

    Better they go to an artist who envisions matching a book to what it was about. By destroying the physical book and recreating its content in visual form.

    PS: I was brought up never to defile a book by writing in it. I balked at that, creating margin notes, and underlinings (back in the days before there were things called “highlighters.”

    Because I thought of books not as static, but dynamic where I was allowed to have a conversation w/the author.

    So are books purely physical entities? Or tools designed to educate and inform?

    Or entertain. What about carving stacks of old Enquirers into images of their lurid content? Inquiring (pardon me! ENquiring) minds want to know. :-)

  20. Into the fiery furnace or dumpster go thousands of perfectly serviceable textbooks and other books every year at the whim of school curriculum committees, librarians, et al. Much as I am a fan of the bound book, I see technology as one of the logical means to save trees, ink, water, and landfill space. These ingenious sculptures are another. But part of the print and tech systems (as in all for-profit endeavors) is ‘planned’ or ‘inevitable’ obsolescence. Ergo, the smaller and less-toxic the waste, the better. Where we should have been recycling bound books for a century, we should now put a concerted effort into SAFELY recycling usable, repairable electronics and their parts. Think outside the box: save the planet.

  21. This is a truly moving set of sculptures that seems to bring these old tomes back to line. Simply amazing detail. These are some of Mr. Laramee’s best works in my opinion. They expose intellectual conversation and pull our deepest emotions tied to books to the surface. Truly remarkable and beautiful work.

  22. LOVESTOREADREALBOOKS: Seriously. I AM A LIBRARIAN. I WORK IN A LIBRARY. I own a Nook, but I have no idea where it is, and I’ve only ever used it once. I too prefer the feel of a book in my hand. BUT: I see books donated constantly because people run out of room, or the books are so old people can’t even give them away because nobody wants them. We can’t keep them all. Our only option is to send them to recycling. I fight hard against that, giving as many as I can away to people who will love them, but there always seems to be more that nobody wants anymore. As much as it would be wonderful and good to keep every single book in the world safe and loved, it just isn’t possible. Do YOU want a set of 1965 World Book Encyclopedias? How about 500 sets? or a thousand? Unfortunately, nobody wants them. So what do you suggest be done with them? My preference would be to see someone, like this wonderful artist, make something that I can then keep in my library, or see displayed somewhere else for people who love books as much as I do, to show people that books are more than just the paper they’re printed on, literally.

  23. I think the artist may want to look towards Washington DC and the large pile of useless legislation that’s been written over the last few years. This would be a nice way to cut out all the pork!!

  24. Anyone who thinks this is a waste of books needs a mental examination.

    To take a book or several and sculpt into them an inspirational work of art based on the books’ subject matter is an unbelievably brillant and noble use one’s time.

    Go back to uptight lives and leave artists alone.

  25. Awsome work!! great website. Thank you!!

  26. Awesome collection and a great honer to those awesome creations and their creators.

  27. What a beautiful tribute to the books we cherish but can no longer accomidate or refere to. thank you.

  28. My reverence for books gives rise to a great horror at these anal retentive OCD outbreaks masked as ‘ART’

  29. Thank’s a lot for sharing.It’s really amazing.

  30. Have you noticed how frequently those who find no problem with carving the books call those of us who do some unflattering name? Also, have you noticed how many people assume the artist only carved encyclopedias and other books that have lost their purpose? First, there is room for a difference of opinion here without name-calling. Second, not all his carvings are encyclopedias. And, third, not every old book (even those that aren’t being checked out at the local public library) is of no value. I am writing a book about the late 1800s, and I have bought several books from that period and found valuable information unavailable elsewhere. I have also searched in vain for other titles I wanted that I could not find. When we dispose of old books because not many people will ever read them, we destroy information and perspective from the past that might be valuable to some unseen person for some unknown purpose. We in the present aren’t quite as wise nor as cool as we think we are. The works of art are incredible, but the issues raised by the media the artist has chosen are worth serious reflection.

  31. That’s a good way of throwing past knowledge away. Didn’t like those.

  32. This is an amazing art form and i agree that it beats throwing away a book. But you shouldn’t
    destroy a perfectly fine book to make art.

  33. shopped!!!!

  34. Very nice and an brilliance idea!

  35. You. Effing. Bastards. Those are ALL first editions. I hate society these days…

  36. It’s amazing……n kind of painful to look at. Guess the books were going to be thrown away but still…….

  37. These carvings are spectacular and so gorgeous. I’ve seen book carvings before, but I think these are the best that I’ve seen. I love reading real books, not e-readers. It makes me sad to see that books are fading away into non-existence because of technology. It is a little disturbing to know that these books are now destroyed, but when they are going to be thrown away anyway at least it is a way to reuse them. I hope none of them were first editions- that would be terrible!
    For the people not liking these because the books are “messed up”, there are so many books out there this does not make a real difference. Plus, a lot of art is created by changing the use of an otherwise useful item. Get over it- they are beautiful.

  38. Wow! now this is called creativity.. Keep sharing like this..

  39. WE LOVE YOUR BOOKS THEY’RE SO AMAZING! I hope you enjoyed your time carving them.
    Thank you for listing to our beautiful comennt!
    LOL!!!!! :D:D:D

  40. I forgot a couple things so here it goes. The first was eye poping but the second one was too! But the fourteenth one was my persanol favorite. My friend karissa’s is too. We both love your work and hope you keep it up!
    Love these awesome peeps KATIE AND KARISSA!!
    GO TEAM USA!!!! OR WHERE EVER YOU ARE IS COOL TOO!
    LOL :D:D

  41. it’s so amazing

  42. the curves is so beautiful

  43. Did anyone check to see if these were actual books? They could just be the outer covers reprinted to depict the piece the artist is trying to portray.

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