Amaranth Borsuk Launches Abra, a Book and App that Change in the Reader's Hands

Page from Abra book

This past week saw the publication of IAS faculty member Amaranth Borsuk's collaborative project Abra: A Living Text, created with Kate Durbin and Ian Hatcher. The recipient of an NEA-funded Expanded Artists' Books grant from the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago, Abra presses at the boundaries of the book, coupling a limited-edition, fine press artists' book with a free art app for iPad and iPhone that allows readers to interact with its constantly-mutating text and create poems of their own. The project was mentioned on The Economist's Prospero blog as a bold experiment in publishing, a born-digital artists' book that merges physical and digital media.

The team celebrated the book's launch with a video (below) demonstrating the features of both the app and the artists' book, which uses heat-sensitive inks, letterpress impression, and laser-cut openings to reveal the page as itself a touch-screen interface continuous with the interactive tablet. The video was created with the help of UWB's Digital Future Lab, a unique interactive studio whose work focuses on radical diversity, social justice, and the relationship between the design of digital and physical worlds.

Learn more about Abra at, and find the app in the App Store.