This Book is a Time Machine

This installation parallels the launch of a hypothetical book that explores four different timescales — human, technology, geology, and the timescale of the book itself.


Phoebe Hsu, Student Project

Practice Area


Art Center College of Design


The Challenge

The main challenge of this project was reinterpreting and recontextualizing the traditional medium of a book into a digital experience. It was also about translating words that are fixed and printed on paper into dynamic typography that moves on a dimensional surface.

Project Vision

Physical books can last for decades, but its information can become outdated rather quickly. Can the book itself be constantly updated with new information? The vision of this project is to not only present information from the chapters in a spatial and more impactful way, but to also question the medium of a traditional book through its integration into the digital world.

Phoebe Hsu

The ribbon bookmarks control the information that is shown on the form.

Phoebe Hsu

Design + Execution

The nine ribbon bookmarks that are sewn into the book represent nine different entry points to the narrative. They are the control for content that is projected on a dimensional surface. By touching a bookmark, users activate different content on the dimensional surface via conductive material in the ribbon bookmarks. The installation utilized the graphic language and that was established in the book. The content reacts to a form that continually decreases in size, from top to bottom, which is reflective of timescales and increments of time. The typography scales up or down on the dimensional form depending on the chapter and is intended to reframe human impact over a larger timescale.

When there is no one interacting with the book, the time is displayed in decreasing units.

Phoebe Hsu

Phoebe Hsu

Phoebe Hsu

Project Details
I appreciate the realization of the idea—of building the touch activation of each bookmark in software, projection mapping, and creating a custom structure. A compelling deconstruction of a book—how you move from fixed content to fluid, choose your own narrative, and read through multiple lenses and scales.
Juror 1
Design Team

Phoebe Hsu


Miles Mazzie (instructor)
Ivan Cruz (instructor)
Brad Bartlett (instructor)

Photo Credits

Phoebe Hsu (photography)
Brad Bartlett (videography)

Open Date

December 2021