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Between Page And Screen

May 1, 2012

In yesterday’s post I reveled in the simple beauty of hand painted paste paper art, an art form once commonly used in antique book binding. Today an augmented-reality book by author Amaranth Borsuk and developer Brad Bouse gave me a whole new kind of reading experience to look forward to. To those who swore print was dead, this is a love story that is sure to change your mind.

I have only seen a couple of augmented-reality projects. Both times I came away feeling pretty ambiguous towards the technology. It was probably because it was being used as a marketing tool to increase sales. Yawn. To be fair the product being sold didn’t appeal to me. When I saw Between Page And Screen I felt humble again (very, very humble).

In my excitement I inadvertently ordered two copies so I guess someone in my life is going to get a pretty cool gift in the near future. This book was originally printed as a limited edition letterpress book – be still my heart. I wonder if they used paste paper?

Between Page and Screen is a hand-bound and letterpress-printed book of poems that engages both the digital poetry and artist’s book traditions to consider the place of books in an era of screen-based reading.

This sixteen-poem chapbook contains no text, only stark black-and-white geometric shapes and a web address leading to this site, where the reader follows instructions to display the book on his or her webcam. Our software detects the square markers in the book and displays corresponding word animations mapped to the surface of the page. Because the animations move with the book, they appear to inhabit “real” three-dimensional space—a kind of digital pop-up book

The poems—a series of cryptic letters between two lovers, P and S—do not exist on either page or screen, but in an augmented reality only accessible to the reader who has both the physical object and the device necessary to read it.”

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