The literary vacuousness of codex fetishism revealed

A book is the content, not the format. A stack of bound leaves is in codex format, a rolled sheet is a scroll, a recording reading is an audiobook, and a digital file is an ebook. But, all of these are books, and when codex fetishists claim their format is a “real book” all they’re really saying is that they care more about the object (“the smell, the feel!”) than the literature in it.

One recent trend in codex fetishism makes this prioritization of thing-over-literature extreme and explicit. Not satisfied with idolizing the codex as an aesthetically pleasing object, many artists use paper books as the raw material for art, destroying their textual value in service to the codex as a precious substance, stripped of its literary soul.

The emphases below are mine:

Artist Guy Laramee repurposes old books to build sculptures of nature scenes.

“I carve landscapes out of books,” he says in his artist’s statement. “Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply is.” …

Laramee is one of many artists who use old books to create artworks.

Books that aren’t really knowledge and don’t need to say anything. Yup.

Check out the rest here at GalleyCat.


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