The idea to create a series of artbooks came to us when I was brainstorming with Kathryn Zazenski in the main library of the Faculty of Physics one snowy morning. We asked ourselves how we could introduce an art project into that specific space, something tailored to the space, to not disturb its purpose but to add something new. We decided to create books for specific sections of the library. Artworks in the form of books would blend into the library shelves and would be almost indiscernible from the others, however when found they would serve a different purpose than the more traditional collection (if we can speak of any kind of purpose in artistic creation – but that’s a vast topic, for a long and deep debate which I won’t attempt here but rather leave as an open question for you, the reader).
We walked through all parts of the library, even visiting the restricted section with old, rare and valuable volumes. One section in particular drew our attention – it was called Varia. We decided to place the two main books describing our project in there and name the project after this specific section. Becasue after all, this is what we both do. Art is usually something thought of as “weird” and outside of the more normalized vocations. Artworks themselves are difficult to place or arrange in specific classes or sets. To add to it, our area of focus is weird even for art standards, since we both work with physicists and draw our inspirations from pure, strict, scientific research, and the way it’s carried out.
We both take very different approach to the same area of art and science connections though. It determined our choice for book covers. Both books made by Kathryn are white while mine are black. Zazenski is more interested in human experience and how science can be used as an intuitive language for art. Her work also touches on the subject of the everyday experience. As she is more focused on the internal or emotional aspect of a human being and the human experience, we decided that her works would represent the “sacrum” half of this project. My works fall under the “profanum,” since my area of focus is outside of human experience. What interests me most is matter itself. My works are impressions of how the world appears from a purely physical standpoint, where human feelings or experiences are irrelevant.
The project Varia is an example of the interdisciplinary nature of science and art. Since it touches both art and some aspects of science and does so from two very different angles, it is something that classifies it for varia library section. The field of science is very important for all the works created for this project. We both dive deep into our subjects, beyond the popular science level, yet what we do still cannot be called science. At the same time, however, it goes beyond simply inspiration. What we do could easily find a home in the varia sections of science, art, and literature collections.
The two primary Varia books are placed in the varia section of the library. The others are carefully placed among the books in other sections that are dedicated to the topics that were our inspirations for each book. They can be found using the bookmarks we designed for the project and that have been left in various places throughout the library. We also created a website that is an online archive of the project.
Preface of “Varia, Book I” artbook
Archive of the project can be found here.
My three books from “Varia” series can be found here.
This project was made for the Library of the Faculty of Astronomy, Physics, and Applied Computer Science at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, with partnership from the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow.
Varia series contains total of five books, which can be found in different places of the Library, specified on the bookmarks left at the counter and on the tables with short description of the project.