eWALDEN

thesis

Description

eWALDEN


The second largest book refers to the sense of touch, next most dominant sense used when reading. Titled eWalden, the text for this book comes directly from the programming source code of the e-book version of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Walden was selected in part because of its rustic character, a stark contrast to the current digital era and our constant reliance on technology. The excerpt used in eWalden comes from the chapter entitled “Sounds”, in which Thoreau’s reveries are interrupted by the sounds of a passing train, forcing him to consider the world of commerce and technology.

Using digital e-book code for a printed book presents an interesting juxtaposition between the screen and the page, the hand letterpress printed pages further emphasizing the difference between the two. To read a printed book is a physical experience and an e-book, though convenient, deprives the reader of this haptic pleasure. The words are printed in gloss varnish on a paper that is produced specifically for its tactile qualities, the transparent varnish illustrating how reading a book on a tablet pales in comparison to its physical counterpart. The clear varnish in a way mirrors the glass on a tablet and highlights the idea that while the reader is looking at a page, they are only looking at a reflection of a physical book. This idea is additionally emphasized as the printed words are revealed or obscured depending on the light source and angle of the viewer.

The fact that readers will not be able to handle the book while on display further frustrates the inherent human desire to touch. Nearly every formal aspect of eWalden was manipulated in some way by the hand to demonstrate the importance of tactility in understanding the printed book: the analogue print process, handmade Thai momi marbled endpapers, hand dyed silk velvet cloth, and process of assembling the book from start to finish.

Letterpress on Cosmic Curious Touch, hand dyed silk velvet, Thai momi marbled paper.
 
+ 28.5 x 18 inches, open