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Introducing the Electrolibrary (video)

As a person who likes to read and as a person who loves gadgets I am overjoyed whenever the 2 meet in new and unusual ways. Today I get to show you a senior project called the Electrolibrary.

The video was posted by a Polish student called Waldek Wegrzyn, and it shows the construction of a hybrid book-based interface for accessing digital content. This scratch-built book actually has as much in common with most gadgets as it does books.

It has circuitry embedded on the pages which, when plugged into an Ardunio board, can be used to manipulate the content on the screen. The book will respond to page turns, moving your fingers around on a page, and probably more. It’s not clear from the video exactly what actions can be tracked, but it is clear that you need the book and a specific set of content. The book is in limited supply, but the content can be found here.

According to the page on Vimeo, this work was inspired by El Lissitzky, an early 20th century artist and futurist. They cite his 1923 manifesto The topography of typography which argues that:

  1. The words on the printed surface are taken in by seeing, not by hearing.
  2. One communicates meanings through the convention of words; meaning attains form through letters.
  3.  Economy of expression: optics not phonetics.
  4. The design of the book-space, set according to the constraints of printing mechanics, must correspond to the tensions and
  5. pressures of content.
  6. The design of the book-space using process blocks which issue from the new optics. The supernatural reality of the perfected eye.
  7. The continuous sequence of pages: the bioscopic book.
  8.  The new book demands the new writer. Inkpot and quill-pen are dead.
  9. The printed surface transcends space and time. The printed surface, the infinity of books, must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.

I wish the video was longer and focused more on the function of the Electrolibrary. It’s hard to see exactly what they accomplished here.

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