GOOD Design Daily: Jonathan Safran Foer Die-Cuts One Book into Another

Jonathan Safran Foer used die-cutting to literally carve his new book, Tree of Codes, from the pages of Bruno Schulz's Street of Crocodiles.

The author Jonathan Safran Foer did not write his newest book; he carved it from the pages of another.

To create what Fast Company describes as "an interactive paper sculpture," Foer enlisted the help of the Belgian designer Sara de Bondt and a team from Die Keure, who used the "die-cutting" technique to physically alter the pages of Foer's favorite book, Bruno Schulz's Street of Crocodiles. (I never realized he has such excellent taste.) By cutting out words and lines of text from that book, Foer and his team managed to create an entirely new story.

Here's a quick video look at how they did it:


The end result is Tree of Codes. The title, you'll note is comprised entirely of letters that appear in the Shultz's Street of Crocodiles; there just aren't as many of them. The spirit of this project recalls the "oulipo" literary movement, in which poets and novelists (Italo Calvino maybe most famous among them) impose seemingly arbitrary constraints on their work in order to produce something truly inventive. Rather than avoiding the burden of influence, Foer embraces his love of Schultz's work, and endeavors to locate/create a hidden story therein.

Tree of Codes is available from Visual Editions.