Between Page and Screen: Reading revolutionized (Salon.com)

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January 7th, 2013

 

(Interview) Between Page and Screen

Salon.com / Imprint

Reading Revolutionized

BUZZ POOLE

Originally published April 15, 2012

 

Between Page and Screen, a groundbreaking collaboration between poet and book artist Amaranth Borsuk and programmer Brad Bouse, is truly a first: a book that only can be read when simultaneously using a codex book and a computer’s webcam. When placed in front of a webcam, the black shapes printed on the pages, sans words, trigger animated text on the screen, revealing a correspondence between characters P and S. via Between Page and Screen

As e-readers continue to gain market share within the publishing industry and the “future of the book” remains a much bandied about phrase among publishers, writers, agents, booksellers and readers, “Between Page and Screen” has embraced the what-ifs and used them to achieve their true potential, an astoundingly realized book that shuns either/or designations. It champions both the book’s esteemed history by valuing ink printed on the page and also celebrates the potential of digital technology.

“Between Page and Screen” is an entirely new reading experience, and no matter if you favor codex books or e-readers, reading this book makes you acutely aware of the act of reading it. Properly situating the book in front of your computer’s webcam takes a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it the pun-rich missives between P and S are unleashed. Certain entries initially show up on the screen as if you are reading them in a mirror, and it takes some maneuvering to arrive at that aha moment when you realize you just need to turn the page around to invert the text. Soon enough, the reading experience pulls you in like any other. Word-play animations splice up the word “hear” into “he” and “ear.” The letters between P and S speak to the project’s larger themes, making assertions like “page don’t cage me in” and “a screen is a shield, but also a veil,” asking questions like “What are boundaries anyway?”

Clearly, for the authors, boundaries are little more than challenges, which they have met head on, daunted not in the least, creating a reading experience unlike any other. Innovators like Borsuk and Bouse prove that the future of the book should be something we all consider with optimism provided we think beyond current expectations and strive to build new ones.

The authors were kind enough to answer the following questions via email. . . .

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