Work / Writing

A Humument iPad App

It’s crucial that when the transition of content moves from the printed page to the digital screen, there must be good reason. If a new format can enhance the understanding and vivacity of the content then there shouldn’t be any hesitation in the re-appropiation. Tom Phillip’s A Humument is arguably one of the finest artist’s books of all time, so when I heard it was making the digital transition I was struck with half fear and half with excitement and below you can see the details from iTunes, and I’ve cheekily plucked the first ten pages out to whet your appetite.

“A Humument, an oracle of love and life: a diversion of chance and change.

Combining the 367 full-colour pages of Tom Phillips’ artist’s book, the treated Victorian novel A Humument, with an interactive oracle function, this App displays the luminous artwork in a fun and highly accessible way. The App version includes 39 newly created, previously unpublished pages.

Using a chosen date and a randomly generated number the oracle will cast two pages to be read in tandem. You may receive direction, encouragement or warning. The Find wheel spins through the book to quickly navigate the pages visually and find your favourites. Email your personal choices or oracle reading to friends. Sharekit supports image posts to Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook direct from the App.

I found this book (or rather, it found me) when I was not quite thirty and have worked on it constantly ever since. It beckoned me on as it yielded strange words and provoked new images and told the fragmentary tale of Irma and Bill Toge. Now I am well over seventy and still revisiting and revising its pages, I find further layers of hidden texts and buried messages. Like the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, chance pairs of pages, taken together and interpreted, act as a guide and cryptic commentary on life in word and picture; a not-too-serious oracle which I now share with you.

Tom Phillips © 2010"