The Book Surgeon

24 Mar


Books can be things of beauty, but American artist Brian Dettmer also known as The Book Surgeon,  takes it to another level as he cuts away away at old books and creates amazing works of art.

The Household Physicians. Photograph: Brian Dettmer


Todays World.  Photograph Brian Dettmer

The age of information in physical form is waning. As intangible routes thrive with quicker fluidity, material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding into the ether. Newer media swiftly flips forms, unrestricted by the weight of material and the responsibility of history. In the tangible world we are left with a frozen material but in the intangible world we may be left with nothing. History is lost as formats change from physical stability to digital distress. Dettmer.

There is food for thought here as we ponder the apparentlyy transient nature of information in the digital form, and the diminishment of its physicality.


Photos reproduced with permission from Brian Dettmer.

More photos of his work can be found at his website


Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Art


2 responses to “The Book Surgeon

  1. Erin

    March 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    It instinctively hurts me to hear about books being cut up – but this is such a stunning result that I feel I must forgive the artist!

    • Ka-Ming

      March 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      I passed on the link to Brian, so I wonder if he has any comments on that!

      I view it as giving these old books a new lease of life, exposing them anew to the gaze of the world.

      The following time-lapse video of the sculpting process is interesting.

      I’d like to know if there is a conscious decision as to which pieces of texts are left exposed.



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