HUFFINGTON POST
12/30/2011 10:55 am ET Updated Dec 31, 2011

PBS Off Book Brings Us A Short Documentary About How Books Can Be Art (VIDEO)

You don't have to read a book to appreciate it.

A new entry in PBS's Off Book short documentary series, "Book Art," explores some of the different ways physical books can be used as an artist's medium.

In the first section, "Pop-up Culture," we meet Matthew Reinhart, a paper engineer who creates intricate pop-up books that usually consist of about two to three hundred separate pieces put together. In addition to creating pop-up books for DC Comics, Reinhart also created the first "Star Wars" pop-up book.

"It's happening right in front of you and you can touch it," he says of his work. "I use paper as structure and also as decoration for the structure."

In the second segment, "Parallel Universes," Andrea Dezso talks about her work making tunnel books, which use multiple layers of cut-outs to show a narrative. For Dezso, these books let her create "worlds that are almost like a dream" where "everything seems real and very possible."

"I think about them almost as these springboards for the imagination," she says. "When I was a child, I remember there were these moments where I saw something for the first time, where there was just this moment of awe -- when I make art I'm trying to bring these moments back."

In the final part, "Transforming the Sacred," book artist Carole Kunstadt explains why her work -- which sometimes involves stitching, weaving, and shredding the paper of books -- is her way of honoring the book's form. By sewing the text, she sought to "take away the impulse to read the text for what it was." Because "the book itself was containing an experience," her work reflects the way that the written word can "captivate us and take us to another place."

Watch the video below:

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