With a growing internet community and a slew of social media outlets, anonymity is diluted and nearly impossible to achieve. It’s difficult for anyone to remain a mystery, especially if they put themselves out there. Somehow, however, a modern day mystery exists in Edinburgh involving a series of unclaimed book sculptures with cryptic messages. Who is the artist behind all of these elaborate works that celebrate books?
Photographer Chris Scott (aka chrisdonia), a bibliophile himself, has been documenting the fascinatingly intricate works since their emergence. Each sculpture has curiously appeared at different library, bookshop, and museum locations across Edinburgh including the Scottish Poetry Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and the Filmhouse. Each figure uses a popular work of literature to construct surreally detailed figures. Every structure is unique to the book it is made out of and comes with its own message of literary celebration. When the eighth sculpture popped up, it came with a note alluding to the artist being a female, giving a few shout outs (including one to Scott for his pictures), and signaling the end of the journey with a total of ten sculptural works. People, including Scott, eagerly awaited the final two, unsure of where or when they would be revealed.
After the final two sculptures discreetly unveiled themselves at the National Museum of Scotland and the Writer’s Museum, it seemed the quest for more sculptures had come to a close. However, a mysterious Twitter account was created shortly after that and began tweeting at the locations at which these pieces were discovered. Not too long after, an eleventh sculpture materialized at the Edinburgh Bookshop with a quote from R. Burns reading “…. something in us never dies” and the message: “In support of those who turn ideas into words, words into books …… & of course books into libraries.”
You can see more of the sculptures in Scott’s Flickr set and track the entire journey on his blog, which is sure to give any updates should there be the appearance of a twelfth book sculpture or the big reveal of the artist’s true identity.