A new public art project in the UK called Books About Town plans to install artist designed benches shaped as open books. The 50 to 70 book benches – to be placed around London – will include seating based on Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, J M Barrie‘s Peter Pan and on Kenneth Grahame‘s Wind in the Willows and even George Orwell’s 1984.
The Book Benches will be designed by international and British artists, and are intended to promote reading for enjoyment and to celebrate stories linked to the London. The project from the National Literary Trust, with support from Visit England, is scheduled to launch in July 2014.
Each BookBench will be sponsored by private firms, including publishing companies. For more information, contact the Literary Trust.
I love Barcelona—really who doesn’t love Barcelona—but not just for the obvious reasons. Everyone is enamored with the city’s spectacular architecture, fabulous art, great music, and who wouldn’t kill for the tapas. Me too, but I’m also fascinated by Barcelona’s literary heritage and amazing bookshops. So, I was saddened to hear that last week an important piece of that heritage disappeared.
For more than 82 years, the amazing Libreria Cervantes-Canuda offered an intoxicating mix of titles in every conceivable genre. Crammed with over 200,000 books, the bibliophile’s dream of a bookstore even inspired Carlos Ruiz Zafron’s international bestseller The Shadow of the Wind.
Cervantes-Canuda was apparently another victim of Spain’s ongoing recession and the rising rents in Barcelona’s Barri Gotic. Sadly, many bookshops around Spain have also been hit by the same double whammy. In Barcelona alone, tow other historic bookshops have also been shuttered this year.
Now it seems that a visit to Zafron’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books is only possible by travelling through the pages.
Here at TBTP we’re always keep an eye out for attention grabbing street art and dynamic installations. This mesmerizing work by California-based artist Phillip K. Smith III seized our attention immediately. As you will see from the video below (if you invest four minutes of your time), Smith transformed a seventy year old, deserted homesteader’s shack in Joshua Tree, California into a day/night exploration of light, shadow and reflection.
Smith draws his inspiration from the landscape, the reductive geometries of minimalism and the California Light & Space Movement. The resulting work is emphatically straightforward and eminently accessible.
A non-profit organization called The Harry Potter Alliance has launched a clever Hunger Games-themed social justice campaign called “Odds In Our Favor”. The group has released a rabble-rousing video called “The Hunger Games Are Real”, which uses events from Suzanne Collins‘ trilogy to share disturbing statistics about poverty, hunger, social justice, worker safety and income inequality in the United States. Even if you are not a fan of the books or films, you should find the video engaging and inspiring.
As a seller of antiquarian and collectible books, I’m frequently asked to explain the attraction of “old books’ to non-bibliophiles. The questions usually come from customers seeking to purchase a book as a gift for a book lover in their lives, or more often from a book buyer who thinks the prices of antiquarian books are just too high.
In this wonderful video, “A Mild Case of Bibliomania”, Raymond Russell, the founder of the independent publisher Tartarus Press, shares his experience as a life-long bibliophile.
With “The Hobbit: The desolation of Smaug” hitting theaters everywhere on December 13, 2013, and another Middle Earth media blitz, Google has released “Journey Through Middle-earth, A Chrome Experiment“. This interactive application provides a first person perspective for a trip through Hobbit-related locales in Middle Earth . It’s a bit hokey but fun if you’re a true Tolkien fan. Take a journey right here (but use Google Chrome, of course).
Back in 2012, Air New Zealand produced an amusing in-flight safety video called “An Unexpected Briefing” with help from Peter Jackson and the Hobbit gang. They recently followed up with a new promotional video titled “Just Another Day in Middle Earth”. The new video includes actual Air New Zealand staff, as well as actors from the Hobbit trilogy and a voice over by the 7th Doctor Who, Sylvester McCoy, who plays the wizard Radagast the Brown.
I’m always a sucker for witty bookshop signage, so I was tickled by the staff’s clever efforts at Kaleido Books in Perth, Australia. If you would like to see more, or connect with the independent bookstore, which is located at Perth’s railway station, just visit them at their Facebook page.
Ed Fairburn is a Cardiff-based Welsh freelance artist who melds geography and art in a powerful marriage of form. His evocative and moving map art is complex, richly textured and always visually stunning. You can see more of his phenomenal work and read about his process on his personal website, and you can support the work by purchasing prints right here too. Take a look: