Data + Design Project

Got Old Phonebooks? Make Art Out Of Them!

Monday 04.30.2012 , Posted by
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Texas based photographer Cara Barer uses old phone books, computer manuals, maps, and comic books to create hypnotic sculptures, which she then photographs. Her inspiration came when she saw a rain-soaked Yellow Pages lying on the ground. She photographed its intricately bent pages and soon began the search for more books, and more methods to change their appearance. She realized she owned many books that were no longer of use to her or to anyone else. She soaked the manual for Windows 95 in the bathtub for a few hours, then gave it a new shape and purpose. Half Price Books became a regular haunt, and once an abandoned house gave her a set of outdated reference books, complete with mold and a storied history of neglect.

Barer seems to have no problem acquiring large reference books:

“Half a century ago, students researched at home with the family set of encyclopedias, or took a trip to the library to find needed information. Now, owning a computer, and connecting to the internet gives a student the ability to complete a research paper without ever going near a library”, she said. “I fear that it is rapidly leading us to rely less and less on the reference books common in the last two centuries.”

“With the discarded books that I have acquired, I am attempting to blur the line between objects, sculpture, and photography. This project has become a journey that continues to evolve.”

See more of Cara Barer’s photography here.

See Also Mountains of Books Become Mountains

via Amusing Planet

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Shawn Saleme

Written by Shawn Saleme



Shawn Saleme is a full time writer for Visual News. Having traveled to over 50 countries, his international escapades continue to influence his writing and perspective. When not in a foreign territory, he makes his home in his native San Francisco Bay Area. Become friends with him on Facebook and invite him to share drinks and stories with you.

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Comments

  1. If Johannes Gutenburg’s texts, William Shakespeare’s works, Spencer, Illuminated manuscripts etc. had been treated with this level of respect–we would have even less of a trace of history than we do. Perhaps this is all a testament to how little of what is created, written about etc., today is worth preserving in its original state. I find this movement to destroy books to be completely irresponsible and the artists making their living on it–to be highly ignorant.

    Books are not merely material.

  2. Xavier — I’m a book packrat and agree in principal. However, these are books which are, in many cases, already beyond salvage, for which there are many other copies,and which would otherwise be pulped on a good day. (On a bad day, they’d go in a landfill or fall apart from mold.) We need the works of William Shakespeare and Homer. Do we need half a million copies of the Windows 95 user manual? Will the 2012 Yellow Pages for Fargo, ND have great historical or anthropological interest in a thousand years? It’s important to preserve, but at the same time, there is a line between preserving and hoarding, and we cannot save every book that comes off the printing presses. Repurposing some as art does three things: 1) it creates art from waste, giving these books a second life, 2) it provides a means for disposing of books no longer needed, and 3) it calls attention to the transitory nature of even seemingly permanent things like books. Art can tell us a lot of things.

    Personally? I’d rather see a book made into sculpture than pulped.

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