Artist Takes Old Books and Gives Them New Life as Intricate Sculptures

New York-based artist Brian Dettmer cuts into old books with X-ACTO knives and turns them into remixed works of art. Speaking at TED Youth last November, he told the audience, “I think of my work as sort of a remix …. because I’m working with somebody else’s material in the same way that a D.J. might be working with somebody else’s music.” “I carve into the surface of the book, and I’m not moving or adding anything. I’m just carving around whatever I find interesting. So everything you see within the finished piece is exactly where it was in the book before I began.”


Dettmer puts on display his pretty fantastic creations, all while explaining how he sees the book — as a body, a technology, a tool, a machine, a landscape, a case study in archaeology. The talk runs six minutes and delivers more than the average TED Talk does in 17.

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  • Peter says:

    It is quite clever, but what books is he chopping up? Why doesn’t he do this to some of the new mass-produced books that are clogging up library shelves?

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