Published: about 7 hours ago
Books convey meaning through words, but they’re also physical objects, whose materials react to environmental conditions and the passage of time. This is what Alexis Arnold examines in her ongoing series, Crystallized Books, in which she treats found books with a borax solution so they grow crystals.
The resulting objects look like books frozen in time — dropped in the snow and abandoned, or mysteriously calcified mid-read.
They also resemble layered rocks, laminated pastries, frozen waterfalls, bent bodies. They tell a different story now than the ones printed in their pages.
The series “addresses the materiality versus the text or content of a book,” the artist explains on her website.
“The crystals remove the text and solidify the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects. The books, frozen with crystal growth, have become artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use, and memory.”
Arnold began the series in 2011, inspired by discarded books she found around her home city of San Francisco, according to designboom. At the same time, newspapers, magazines, and bookstores were struggling, and the future of print media was unknown.
How will people see physical books in the future — will they be strange curiosities from the past?
You can find more pieces from Alexis Arnold’s Crystallized Books series here.