Picture of The Dissected Manuscript
There are billions of stories that have been told in all of humanity and so there are a few that can be safely forgotten. Take a tour through a thrift store and you'll find hundreds of old hardcover books that are just begging to find a new life. Their intent, if they can have one, is to be read, but let's liberate them into something new. A phoenix from the ashes, if you will.

In memory of the surrealists who cut up pieces of text out of newspapers or books to create new narratives with horrendous plots I decided to take a tawdry novel and open it up to a vast realm of new possibilities. With the pages sliced up you can rearrange the tale of kids drinking, drugging and screwing. Go straight from the psychiatrist couch into a heroin binge and then into a fight with the disconnected parents. Only faster this time.

Or you could just accept this as an aesthetic exercise to see what you can create with a budget of $5 and a rainy afternoon to kill.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
The main ingredient here is a great book. You can define greatness in your own way as that is a purely objective decision. Jackie Collins lives in my city and so I figured that she would be the perfect author to have her work destroyed. She's made millions and I really doubt that she'll be offended. It also happened to be the first book of the right size that I came across. And then I came up with some rationalization so that makes me happy enough.

The other qualities of greatness would relate to the thickness of the paper and the width of the pages. I've done a couple of other versions of this with a big thesaurus and the feel of the paper was better. I didn't feel bad about that as I don't believe in synonyms and any excuse to take those out of circulation is good in my opinion.

In addition to the book, get a pencil, an X-Acto with fresh blades, and a ruler.
or_ford983 years ago
Hey, what camera do you use? The pictures look brilliant!
fungus amungus (author)  or_ford983 years ago
This was a while ago, but I'm pretty sure it was an old Canon Rebel with a 50mm lens
Crash21088 years ago
You should spray it with..............something that stiffens it.
I think that would be starch.
or a Viagra-water solution:P
fungus amungus (author)  Crash21088 years ago
That would make the project look too heavy. I was thinking about misting it with water so that it could settle in a new position and then dry out, but was worried about it crinkling.
Spray it with polyurethane! Just apply it in very light coats so you don't saturate the pages. Hairspray might work decently also.
if you found to evenly crinkle the whole book, then it might add to the art!
I am tempted to do this with a Bible. Actually I'd use one of those abbreviated "New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs" versions, because the "potency" of the old testament doesn't lend itself to a mere 3-5 lines being "impactful". I like the idea of discovering something different every time you look at it. It kind of goes along with the "living and active" idea.

A lot of people would consider this kind of "dissection" to be disrespectful. But, I've done a lot worse to Bibles just carrying them around for years.
niclet7 years ago
Hi, very great project! It reminds me the 1961's Raymond Queneau "Cent Milliards de Poèmes" :
Some explanations
An image

Cheers ;)
marc927 years ago
I'd like to do this to my math textbook (and my English one.) I'm sure the teacher would understand: "The internet told me to do it so it must be OK."
inquisitive7 years ago
Excellent project-I want to try this on some of the multiple phone books pressed upon us-the paper is so thin-I bet the textural applications would be interesting! Thanks for the idea!
stasterisk8 years ago
woodknot8 years ago
I had to take a look at this because the little picture when it exploringly appears and disappears, looks like something made out of cloth. But a second look tells me that it's not cloth, IT'S ART! I challenge you to get even more creative. Specific books cut in specific ways. For example: The Christmas Carol sliced upward and draped down the stood up to look like a tree. I can see a whole art gallery on some side street, and on each white display cube--a book. On one, "A Comedy Legend-Bill Cosby" all cut up. On another, a biography of Truman Capote, nicely sliced and fluffed with those pretty paper scizzors that cut curliques. Someone would pay big bucks. Is that an architech's scale you are using to cut against? Shame on you.
fungus amungus (author)  woodknot8 years ago
I hadn't thought of any cuts related to the context. That's interesting. The variations I was thinking of were more purely visual and geometric. I guess it is an architect's scale. I bought it ages ago for its heft. Something weird about that? Is there some taboo I'm breaking?
OMG, you're using your scale as a straight edge to cut?!?!!? =:-o

Yep, strictly taboo! Because it's a precision measuring instrument. If you shave a bit of the edge with your X-acto or other razor knife, you've compromised the precision of the scale. This is especially true of engineer's scales, where you are measuring 1000ths of an inch or millimeter. If your drawing is off by a couple of thousandths, something ain't gonna fit after your expensive tooling is made from that drawing. Yeah, that's the old way, it's mostly CAD now.

You gotta respect the tools! Especially the older ones. You'd be hard pressed to find a good quality scale these days. I have a few of my machinist/pattern maker great-grandfather's tools, and they are heirloom quality treasures as far as I am concerned. Most I still use occasionally.
Ha ha. I'm glad I'm not the only one that was shocked and / or appalled at the cutting use of the architects' scale. On the other hand, this is a really neat project! I'm going to have to try it out and see what I come up with. I think it's better if you don't coat it with hardening stuff, so it can be interactive. You can play with it and flip the pages, like a more adult and artsy version of the kids' pop-up book.
Mace428 years ago
looks like a fun project. + for the uniqueness.
Take that, Jackie Collins! I suggest John Grisham and Danielle Steel to anyone wanting to do this. There are so many of their books around you should be able to get them extra cheap! Hell, I'll send you some! We throw them out or donate them constantly at work. :P
fungus amungus (author)  jessyratfink8 years ago
I'd love to get free books to tear up, but I have a thrift store that sells me hardcovers for $2 each and there are free bins near a couple of other bookstores. Thanks for the offer.
woah, pictures.
cry_wolf8 years ago
Wow, the best thing to happen to the book since the book mark! Very nicely documented, and you didnt put the lingerie ads from amazon on the bottom of the page did you? Haha, no really there are lingerie ads, stretch alce 2 piece, 13.99 LOL
Those ads pay for the site ;) I see it too -- along with two book ads :P
We've been experimenting with contextual ads from Amazon. I was hoping they would automatically identify tools and materials (from Amazon Industrial & Scientific) that could be useful and helpful. Obviously, they haven't quite figured out what this page is about yet.
fungus amungus (author)  ewilhelm8 years ago
As long as there's at least one book ad in there it's fine with me.
By discussing a certain ad, I think we may have doomed ourselves into seeing it! The Amazon contextual stuff is definitely not as good as Adsense. We'll see if it improves.
I keep seeing one for spandex, its on this page. Link
I would like if you could remove it, as it is never in context.
fungus amungus (author)  ewilhelm8 years ago
i took a quick look through other instructables and there seems to be a pool of wild card ads. Sometimes there will be related ads, but if it can't do that then it puts in "What Not to Drive," "Steel Bolt Hacking" or the lovely lace panties. Yay!
Awesome, suggest "Bonfire of the Vanities" as your next object d'art.
It all depends on what I can find at the thrift store. A week ago I went and they had a thesaurus, but I didn't have enough money on me to buy it even if it was just a dollar. The next time around it was gone! My slackness has now doomed someone to synonyms. Dang. But ideally I'd like to do a dictionary or thesaurus next because their paper is thinner and would have a better hang to it.
Doom_Goat8 years ago
nice, would definately be a conversation starter
gigman8 years ago
Wow, nice! Very Very Cool!