[First a quick note: This will be the last official post of “Manuscript Book Week,” but there will undoubtedly be more posts about manuscript books as research continues.]

One interesting visual aspect of many of these manuscript books is the amount of spatial depth articulated on and in the pages, particularly on the pages that are heavily decorated/illuminated. The diagram below shows the relative depth of the different components of the spread pictured above, with the lightest shapes (white) showing the areas depicting the most depth, moving to black, where whatever is on the page seems to sit directly on or above the page surface.

European manuscript books often mix “realistic” scenes that recede behind the picture plane, with abstract or trompe l'oeil decoration that stays on or above the picture plane. (For a quick comparison, scroll down to the post below and compare to the Qu’ran pages, with their more “modernist” use of geometric decoration.)The different colors of text and the actual surface of the page hover between those two poles, sometimes moving back and forth, depending on where the viewer/reader is looking. And of course the book itself is an object-in-space, on a table or in the reader’s hands, and participates actively in real space as well (as opposed to a painting, where the two-dimensionality seems fixed, because the painting is anchored to a wall).

It would be interesting to use the kind of spatial manipulations demonstrated in manuscript books with photographic reproduction available now. If depicted three-dimensionality is actively used within a book, in concert with the (seemingly) two-dimensional pages moving in literal 3 & 4D space/time, plus the n-dimensional space of a properly tuned text, that could create a hyper-object that would tear a hole in the space/time continuum, as well as tear your face off and blow your mind up.

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