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Classic Book Chapters Written On Grains Of Rice

Imagine a grain of rice — picture its width and height. Now, imagine an art installation that consists of penning book chapters word by word on the über-tiny grains. New York City-based artist Trong G. Nguyen took on this incredibly ambitious endeavor to honor literary greats in a series entitled Library, for which he hand-writes an inconceivable amount of words on rice using a fine-point technical pen — sans magnifying glass. Although the project took off back in 2007, Nguyen has continued to expand on it, recreating the words of writers such as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Roland Barthes.

“Several years ago, I decided to write the entirety of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time word for word on grains of rice – about 1.5 million words, ” Nguyen explained in an interview with AHAlife. “The intent is to house all the grains of my ‘translation’ in a single, giant hourglass, where the rice kernels replace grains of sand. This project will take at least a few more years to complete. In the meantime, I decided to do smaller versions of this project by writing singular chapters or complete texts from shorter works, usually of books in my own library. A collector friend subsequently commissioned me to do the first chapters of his seven favorite books, and that’s how the project’s evolved.”

Check out Nguyen’s artistic ode to literature below and learn more about his work over at his website.


Trong G. Nguyen, Library, rice kernels, ink, gold paint, gold leaf, clear mylar, 2007-present


Trong G. Nguyen, Roland Barthes: La Chambre Claire, rice kernals, ink, goldleaf, mylar, 2009-2010

[Spotted via Lost At E Minor]

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