Nicholas Galanin's book sculpture

Artist Nicholas Galanin created this piece, titled "What Have We Become? Vol. 1," out of a 2,000 page book. What Have We Become?


  1. Did he use a laser to cut that out? I can’t tell if he did it by hand (razor blade?) or did it with a machine.

    -Alexander Dombroff

  2. Not that I don’t admire the artistry and all but there’s always something sacrilegious about defacing a book (or, in this case, refacing).

  3. i cut this one by hand, since then I have rigged a vinyl cutter to cut each page… I have also employed a laser cutter (which didn’t save much time, though all 3 yield different results.

    Nicholas Galanin

  4. @8 What if it was an Ann Coulter book? That would make it easier to handle? (as long as none of the print was readable that is!)

    1. I think that a book made out of Ann Coulter’s face would be a bigger hit than a face made out of Ann Coulter’s book.

  5. I’m guessing he put the book in a large clamp and then used wood-carving tools on it. WAY too much work to measure and cut every page, and probably has a better result as well.

  6. Valuing his culture as highly as his individuality, Galanin has created an unusual path for himself. He deftly navigates “the politics of cultural representation” as he balances both ends of the aesthetic spectrum. With a fiercely independent spirit, Galanin has found the best of both worlds and has given them back to his audience in stunning form.

  7. Great!

    The curious thing for me here is the title. “What Have We Become?” sounds ominous; in today’s society, you hear this question in the context of a short attention-span, information-craving, technology-addicted, alienated society. So I could imagine this title for a face made out of blackberrys or something like that. But a face made out of a book feels… wonderfully retro, peaceful, and, to me, decidedly non-ominous.

    Curious about what the artist had in mind.

  8. I have a knee jerk bad reaction to people cutting up or defacing books.

    But that aside, the question I am really surprised that no one has asked is….

    What was the book?

  9. I have used text from museum literature(Under Mount Saint Elias… published by the Smithsonian Museum) as well as pages from the bible on some of these masks, both books have heavily influenced my Tlingit culture. A lot of literature published about my culture tends to heavily romanticize us, leaving little room for cultural growth.
    Nicholas Galanin

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