if:book posted on a rather interesting animation project called The Eco Zoo. The site is built using Papervision, which simulates a two dimensional design in a three dimensional space. The Eco Zoo has used this flash based program to create an environmental message through a series of pop-up books all presented in this point and click world. As if:books commented, the site suggests a comparison or even competition between print and digital forms of pop-up books. After visiting the site and reading through the different eco friendly stories told I must say its a beautiful site and the message is a good one. But the real question posed by if:books and the one I’d like to discuss here is what are the implications of such creations on the realm of printed works? Or to take from the great Edward Said, what does a site like this tell us about how the internet perceives its own artwork?
This site is a perfect example of the internet imitating the book, each pop-book individually asks the user to turn the page by pressing next, at which point it animates a page turn to reveal the next two-dimensional display. What can be said also about this form of presentation is its connection with the intent of the material. The moral of the site is to take better care of our environment. Therefore to better present that, the site masks itself in a “physical” looking environment to help establish the connection between the text and the subject.
I encourage our readers to take a look at this site as well as if:books post on it and ask the question about what this suggests in regards to how the internet looks at itself. I personally believe that a digital representation of a pop-up book can never replace the real thing, just like a digital representation of a painting does not detract viewers from seeing the original. There is something tangible and real about a physical object, an aura (Walter Benjamin) that cannot be replicated. The internet will become critically and artistically equivalent to text when it discovers its own forms of representation.
To the Eco Zoo! and remember to recycle,