Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘Lewis Carroll’

25 JUNE, 2012

Alice in Wonderland as a Subway Map

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“‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.”

As a lover of all things Alice in Wonderland and of visual metaphors based on subway maps, I was instantly taken with this transit map of Wonderland, juxtaposing the extreme organizational structure of a subway system with the extreme surreal chaos of the Lewis Carroll classic.

‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where -’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

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28 MAY, 2012

Alice in Wonderland, in 24 Vintage Magic Lantern Slides

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“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

As a lover of all things Alice in Wonderland, I was so taken with these glass lantern slides originally found in 100 Ideas That Changed Film that I thought they deserved individual attention. Created as a set of 24 slides based on Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations for the Lewis Carroll classic but altered to avoid copyright conflicts, these gems were meant for viewing on a magic lantern, or Laterna Magica — a primitive projector dating back to the 17th century, consisting of a concave mirror in front of a light source. Though the exact year is unknown, the slides were created sometime between 1910 and 1925.

For a modern contrast, see Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s psychedelic recent illustrated adaptation of Alice.

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18 APRIL, 2012

Yayoi Kusama, Japan’s Most Celebrated Contemporary Artist, Illustrates Alice in Wonderland

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Down the rabbit hole in colorful dots, twisted typography, and strange eye conditions.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass endure as some of history’s most beloved children’s storytelling, full of timeless philosophy for grown-ups and inspiration for computing pioneers. The illustrations that have accompanied Lewis Carroll’s classics over the ages have become iconic in their own right, from Leonard Weisgard’s stunning artwork for the first color edition of the book to Salvador Dali’s little-known but breathtaking version. Now, from Penguin UK and Yayoi Kusama, Japan’s most celebrated contemporary artist, comes a striking contender for the most visually captivating take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland yet.

Since childhood, Kusama has had a rare condition that makes her see colorful spots on everything she looks at. Her vision, both literally and creatively, is thus naturally surreal, almost hallucinogenic. Her vibrant artwork, sewn together in a magnificent fabric-bound hardcover tome, becomes an exquisite embodiment of Carroll’s story and his fascination with the extraordinary way in which children see and explore the ordinary world.

A breathtaking piece of visual philosophy to complement Carroll’s timeless vision, Kusama’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the latest affirmation of what appears to be the season of exceptionally beautiful books.

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