This piece was created at the OpenBook Workshop at the Parson’s Center at Lake Ann, Michigan in August 2013. The two workshop instructors—Jon Sueda and Everett Pelayo—asked the participants to create artifacts based on a moment in time and playing with the form of an encyclopedia.

Xylophobia: A Compendium is meant to evoke the feeling of being lost in the dark. The pages are printed french fold—printed on both sides of the paper, folded in half, and then bound along the open edge. The outer pages are covered in dark and saturated images, effectively hiding the text inside. The viewer must slice open the pages to find this internal content, meaning that the book must be broken in order to fully engage with it. The final expression explores the irrationality of fear on the outer pages, and the ways that fear can be intellectualized and made rational on the inner pages.

From the OpenBook website:

Over the last two decades, there have been a number of essays—and, ironically, books—that predict the demise of traditional books in the wake of digital media. Defining the term “book” loosely, as a vehicle for visual or verbal content that is organized into “sections,” this intensive ten‐day workshop will challenge overly simplistic, even fatalistic, ideas about the demise of physical books by stressing instead the ways novel renditions of physical and digital and hybrid “books” carry meaning. The objective is to encourage participants to explore unconventional forms that books may take and to create an artwork/designed object that challenges ideas of what books can be.

Link to the OpenBook project website.

Link to the OpenBook Workshop website.

Images of the book: