Project Deconstruction

Project Deconstruction: Develop a Learning Portfolio post to archive your experience, as a researcher, of a project I completed last semester.

This was a project from Integrated Studio I. Students in the class were asked to pick a second-hand book from Strand Bookstore and by manipulating it turn the book into a 3D installation. The requirements are that use the entire book in the reconstruction, throwing away no part of it. The theme of the recreation of the books should be related to the book or developed from it.

Research for the Project

The book the artist picked is called Dog Sense by John Bradshaw who is Foundation director of the Authrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol. His research interests center on the behavior and welfare of domestic animals and their relationship with people. This book is one of his publications which aims to acknowledge dog owners and dog lovers about how and why dogs behave in certain ways and clear out some misunderstandings. It presents a thorough picture of the species and helps us to build a better relationship with our pets.

Theme and Process

The theme Guo developed from the book is relationship and balance. Guo first focused on the relationship between humans and dogs. When she was doing sketches and some experiments, She found out that the relationship between humans and dogs would be to limited. The she shifted her focus to “relationship”. In any relationships, there are always two parts involved. She wanted to investigate the forces between two parts in a relationship, not just between humans and dogs since it was too limited. In Chinese Philosophy, Yin and Yang describes how two opposite forces could interact, and interconnect with each other, and how they give rise to and restraint each other. It is about achieving balance and equality between positivity and negativity in a relationship in short. It might seem complicated in words, but it is simply stated in the symbol. The artist decided to make a Yin and Yang piece by folding.

The stand was made of ply wood. At first, the base was a white wooden block, but it did not fit the concept of the project since it was to chunky and distracting. By lifting up the book, there is a feeling that the book is suspending in the air. And there is a new form of balance: gravity. There are other form of balances as well. For example, there is a balance between the cold(the dark color on the base and book frame) and warm (the bright orange color inside the book) colors; there is also balance between the spaces within the piece. Where the book attaches the base is like a equilibrium and dividing point of spaces.

Some process pictures:




Since there are a lot of second-hand book on the book. This means that there are a great amount of books that people abandon, and not all people sell their old books. This is a concern that production of books may cause environmental problems. There is a article about e-bookes and print books.


the book production process


Here is an article about how we can be sustainable with printed book:

Sustainable Reading and Publishing: How You Can Do Your Part to Help the Environment


Artists who deconstruction books:

Book Art- Five Artists Who Creatively Use Books As A Medium

Tom Phillips

[no title: p. 33] 1970 Tom Phillips born 1937 Presented by the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975

Remo Albert Alig



For Integrated Studio II Visual Culture, this project from studio I may fit in the theme environment since the Chinese philosophy associates with the nature to a great extent and the material used in the project is directly from the nature.

After the whole project, the most meaningful thing was making things with objects that already have functions and that are around people’s daily life. It is also meaningful to explore an idea with a conceptual or abstract approach. The challenge of this work is not only the process of the transformation from the concept to 3D outcome, but also the technique of folding. It can be improved by using template during folding rather than do it with freehand. It will be worthy to continue exploring the theme balance as it is such a broad topic and there are so many forms of balances such as the balance of human body and the balance of time. There are also many other materials and medias like video that can be experience.

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