Friday, March 25, 2011

3rd Annual Edible Book Festival!

WNYBAC is gearing up for our 3rd annual Edible Book Festival on April 1st, where participants use food items to construct tasty (and sometimes not so tasty) book-like objects. Check out the gallery of last year's entries here. It's time to put on your thinking cap and your cooking apron and design a masterpiece! Come be part of an international event right here in Buffalo.
The International Edible Book Festival is a yearly event held throughout the world. This contest unites bibliophiles, book artists, and food lovers to celebrate the ingestion of culture and its fulfilling nourishment. Participants edible books are exhibited, documented, then consumed. April 1st is the perfect day to eat your words and play with them. April 1st is also chosen to commemorate the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755 - 1826), famous for his book "Physiologie du goût". The event will run from 5-8 pm, with judging between 6-7pm. Prizes will be awarded and winners will be announced around 7pm in the categories of: Best Book, Best Tasting, Most Creative. Then we eat our words! Everyone is allowed to partake in eating the exhibits after judging.

This year we will be judging in three categories: Professional, Amateur, and Junior (For participants under 16.

If you'd like to register or for more info, just visit WNYBAC's Edible Book Festival page and sign up.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

QR Code Book: Why We Lose Our Hands

In-house printer Chris Fritton has recently finished an exciting project here at WNYBAC: a book composed entirely of QR codes entitled Why We Lose Our Hands. The book is a study in contrast: it is printed entirely in black and white; it uses the most antiquated analog technology (letterpress) to articulate the most recent digital technology (2-D codes); and it requires an electronic device to decode, even though it masquerades as a technologically-independent object. And it is, in many ways, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to "read" it.The book itself creates a very convoluted reading experience, one where the reader holds the book, holds their smartphone, the smartphone reads the code, then the screen presents legible text to the viewer. The requisite technology becomes a filter or a foil for the primary information, which is illegible otherwise. It's a microcosm of our everyday experience with technology and computers, which code, decode, and recode binary sequences at nearly the speed of light that are illegible to most humans.Fritton insists that he is ambivalent about the QR code technology - he says he undertook the project as a way to create a discussion about certain issues: digital/analog cooperation, reliance on prosthetic devices and data sources for knowledge and content, the socio-economic barrier the presence of such technology uncovers (you need the means to have a smartphone to yield the "benefits" of QR codes), and finally, the illusion of speed and efficiency these codes perpetuate. "There's something very curious about a cipher named 'Quick Response' that requires me to take the phone out of my pocket, open an app, point the camera at the code, and wait for the translation. Most literate adults could read 5-10 sentences in that time."So how is the QR code "quicker" than written language? It isn't, to be honest. But it is far more efficacious for its original intended purpose: cataloging and charting the course of millions of auto parts throughout the Toyota supply chain.For those who are interested, the book is available for 15.00USD at Fritton's Etsy shop.