Nina Katchadourian’s Sorted Books project involves rearranging the titles from a single collection in conceptual clusters.
The process is the same in every case: culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom. The final results are shown either as photographs of the book clusters or as the actual stacks themselves, shown on the shelves of the library they were drawn from. Taken as a whole, the clusters from each sorting aim to examine that particular library’s focus, idiosyncrasies, and inconsistencies — a cross-section of that library’s holdings. At present, the Sorted Books project comprises more than 130 book clusters.
It’s a cool concept, but the actual results, to judge from the images online, are a little underwhelming. Also, the books are shown in shelf position, causing the familiar “book browser’s crick” in viewing (since more titles read horizontally than vertically). To save readers of this blog from chiropracter expenses, I’ve rotated the image above.