Defining an object we think we know intimately.

What exactly is a book? In The Book, I have tried to define it with respect to its status as object, content, idea, and interface. By nature slippery, the book has taken numerous forms over time and been the subject of extensive experimentation by artists, filmmakers, tinkerers, and bookbinders.

In April, 2018, I began contacting writers, artists, and scholars I admired to ask them What is the/a book? You'll find their answers here in an attempt to draw attention to the many other formulations of what the book is and can be.

A book is a function which can be run to access a temporarily encapsulated partial map of the universe. A digital constructor made of light, it nonetheless sometimes casts a physical shadow.

—Ian Hatcher


Ian Hatcher is a text / sound / code / performance artist based in New York.

ianhatcher.net