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Textual Landscapes: Book-Cut Storytelling Evolved

“Alice: Through the Looking Glass” by Su Blackwell

Mashing-up paper, text, moving images, and the voice of the narrator, a commercial featuring Maurice Gee takes book-cut storytelling to a whole different level.

To let stories cross over into visual imagery through book-cut storytelling has become an art form, and Su Blackwell is certainly a pioneer in this field with her book-cut sculptures and installations. While there are also some animated installations (not embeddable and consistently yanked from YouTube, which greatly helps to spread the word) including her participation in a tv commercial for Beringer Wines, more advanced approaches to animated book-cut storytelling have been left to others.

But first, the Beringer Ad, by Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco:


Beringer Wine—Vine (2007)

Next, there is the clip “This Is Where We Live” by Apt Studio and Asylum Films for the 25th Anniversary of Fourth Estate, an imprint of the HarperCollins publishing house:


Fourth Estate Twenty-Five Years—This Is Where We Live (2008)

While the clip is still not too strong on the storytelling side, I love the idea of the “virtual reality” of books, and how it is brought into film through book-cut stop motion, and distributed through the Internet. In that way, the title “This Is Where We Live” is particularly fitting and of course reminds me of my own home where I live.

But we can go further: book-cut storytelling has evolved. The commercial “Going West,” made by Colenso BBDO, Auckland, and Anderson M Studio for the New Zealand Book Council (which runs readings, recitals, school programs, seminars, and festivals in NZ), truly brings a story to life with “a 10A scalpel blade and a lot of A2 paper.” The story is Maurice Gee’s novel Going West, mashing-up paper, text, moving images, and the voice of the narrator (not the author or the “author,” I presume, who should be dead anyway):


New Zealand Book Council—Going West

Beautiful. This takes book-cut storytelling to a whole different level.

For a while, Andersen M had a version online with way better audio quality, with the original multitrack-recording’s echo & reverb sound effects that added yet another medium to the layered storytelling. But it’s no longer online, sadly.

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