One of the papers I saw presented at the SHARP conference was by Caroline Hamilton from the University of Melbourne called "Bound up in the past: The future uses of books". I went along worried that it might be another round of statistics about ebooks and the death of the paperback etc etc. Instead, Caroline looked at re-purposed books and what she termed "the sourdough effect". She provided examples of up-cycled books, books being used as furniture and spoke about content vs container. The book as object and issues surrounding nostalgia and fetishism. The sour dough effect was her way of describing the move towards things like "slow" food (organic, local etc) and handmade; our changing desire that is moving away from the "star bucks" experience towards the "sour dough" experience. This is occurring in many aspects of our lives and in reflected in our lifestyle choices.
One of the questions she posed, in light of books becoming objects "ripe for recycling", was "Does this refashioning herald the abandonment of books as 'scared objects'?" A really interesting question I think. Are artists who are in countless ways cutting, folding, building (etc) with books lessening the intrinsic nature of books, or reaffirming them as objects of desire? I'd like to think it is the latter.