The Southern Reach Bookcase

UPDATE:

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I replaced the softcover books with the hardcover collected volume (thanks Bookmark It!), added some moss, and some maps to the background. I’m enjoying evolving pieces of art, interested to see where it goes next.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

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The full bookshelf. All the wood and nails are reclaimed (bolts to the wall are new). It’s missing some green, but the glow in the dark writing makes up for that a little bit.

In 2014, Jeff VanderMeer released a series of books known as the Southern Reach trilogy, and I came across the first one completely by accident. I was taken with Annihilation‘s cover art when passing it by in a Barnes and Noble end cap. I happened to have a gift card from Father’s Day from the kids, otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up (such a cheapskate).

I’m glad I did, because the sense of dread that VanderMeer infuses throughout all of the books and the recurring theme of betrayal really stuck with me. It also helped that I read most of Annihilation while on a vacation in north Florida, which the author credits for inspiring the scenery within Area X.

We’re also lucky enough in Orlando to have Burrow Press, which invited VanderMeer in for a Functionally Literate event in late 2014.

Old pieces of wood, I can’t tell you why I love them so much. I like things neat and orderly. I appreciate user interfaces that are clean, architecture that is simple. I don’t like chaos usually.

But the randomness of the grain, the story of the patterns, they aren’t chaos to me. When I found this board, the beam that makes up the horizontal structure of the bookcase, I had to have it. I just needed a way to put it in my office so I could look at it every day (or five days a week, at least). I didn’t want a wood wall though. It didn’t seem befitting this piece.

It was an idea that came on suddenly. The wood could have come from one of the homes in Area X. Used, aged after a short period in the anomaly’s odd time rate. How would a bookcase just for one set of books work? How do I incorporate some of the elements of the book without getting too in the weeds? Speaking of which, that might be what this piece is missing, some flora. Although there are some glowing letters on it.

Can I take my favorite books, music, and other media and create something that commemorates them in a different way? This is the first attempt at one, and I really like how it turned out. Future efforts will likely be smaller.

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In Area X, electronics rot quickly, making journals the recording devices of choice.
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A hardcover copy of the collected version may look better here, but I like the splash of color.
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As soon as I saw this rabbit at a vintage market, I knew it had to be part of this piece.
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This was a late addition. It’s from a fundraiser at Rollins College for a Mr. Rogers sweater drive, but it might be something they put up in the Southern Reach HQ.

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