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The Instruments of Writing

I’ve just returned from a fantastic conference in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Women’s Writing Instruments in the Eighteenth Century. We learned about the types of things that a woman would have at her desk when she sat down to write, including seals, wax, ink, quills, knives, …

Books, Evidence and Art

A wonderful exhibit currently running at the Foley Gallery in New York called “Beautiful Evidence,” one that brings together a profound sense of the scientific and the whimsical. Books don’t seem to tell us the truth here, but make us wonder. These are curiosities in the Renaissance sense of the term.

The Premature Death of Dust

Ahh, dusty books. A charming piece in the Times Higher Education on the days when students used to go to libraries to do research. Now we just sit at our computers. Where’s the fun in that? It’s on old quip of course. And not at all accurate. Yes, some professors …

The Finest Paper in North America

A nice story at the NY Times on N. America’s most highly regarded paper maker, Timothy Barrett. His paper, which he harvests from Japanese kozo trees in Iowa, is used for some of the most valuable archival projects, from Mozart scores to the U.S. Constitution. Beyond being a nice reminder …

Going Postal

A funny new project by Giles Turnbull who along with a few friends decided to send their Twitter posts as postcards instead of electronically. It gives a renewed vitality to the word “post.” One of the most basic things it shows is just how expensive printed communication is by comparison. …

Media Death, Part 297: Kodak

I’ve written before how the death of the book is connected with the death of a range of other analogue technologies. Nostalgia for the cinema projector and celluloid is as intense as anything by Sven Birkerts. The latest in a long line of dead products is now a major corporation: …

Incidental Media

Meet Little Printer. He’s cute, little, and smart. He prints out your own customized newspaper (more like ticker tape). You program an app to deliver information from various sources (The Guardian, Twitter, Dictionary.com) and the thermal-powered device prints it all on a spool of paper a couple of times a …