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You’ll Need to Burn This Experimental Edition of Ray Bradbury’s "Fahrenheit 451" in Order to Read It

Someone has once again missed the point of Ray Bradbury’s seminal work.

Open Culture reports that a Dutch art college has created a new edition of Fahrenheit 451 that hes pages covered heat sensitive black paint that has to be "burned off" before you can read the text.

The Jan van Eyck Academie, a "multiform institute for fine art, design and reflection" in Holland, has come up with a novel way of presenting Ray Bradbury’s 1953 work of dystopian fiction, Fahrenheit 451. On Instagram, they write:

This week our colleagues from Super Terrain are working in the Lab as a last stop on their all-over-Europe printing adventures. They showed us this remarkable book they made "Fahrenheit 451". —

Want to see how the novel unfolds? Just add heat. That’s the idea.

Apparently they actually have plans to market the book. When asked on Instagram, "How can I purchase one of these?," they replied "We’re working on it! Stay tuned."

When that day comes, please handle the book with care.

You can watch the action here:

That’s a neat trick, but as n rt project it shows that the artists didn’t really understand the meaning of the original work.

Bradbury has made it clear on a number of occasions that the book was a polemic on the impact of television on culture and literacy.

Bradbury, a man living in the creative and industrial center of reality TV and one-hour dramas, says it is, in fact, a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.

“Television gives you the dates of Napoleon, but not who he was,” Bradbury says, summarizing TV’s content with a single word that he spits out as an epithet: “factoids.” He says this while sitting in a room dominated by a gigantic flat-panel television broadcasting the Fox News Channel, muted, factoids crawling across the bottom of the screen.

His fear in 1953 that television would kill books has, he says, been partially confirmed by television’s effect on substance in the news. The front page of that day’s L.A. Times reported on the weekend box-office receipts for the third in the Spider-Man series of movies, seeming to prove his point.

There are better ways to make an art project for this book – a podcast, for example.

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Pablo (Argentina) October 23, 2017 um 4:31 pm

"…of Fahrenheit 451 that hes pages covered heat sensitive black paint that has to "burned off" before you can read the text."

Nate, maybe you thought that the screen would burn as we read your post, so you didn’t bother to edit it properly, but unfortunately that is not the case… 😉

Ian T October 23, 2017 um 6:27 pm

It could be that the artists missed Bradbury’s point, as you suggest.

However, it could also be that they didn’t agree with it and were demonstrating the absurd lengths which people will go to in order to actually read a physical book.

Or it might just be a cheap and gimmicky way for the artists to achieve some publicity.

You would really need to show the artists' reasoning behind their project to determine whether they missed Bradbury’s point or not.

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