Nick SousanisUnflattening

Harvard University Press, 2015

by Carla Nappi on June 12, 2015

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Nick Sousanis's new book is a must-read for anyone interested in thinking or teaching about the relationships between text, image, visuality, and knowledge. Unflattening (Harvard University Press, 2015) uses the medium of comics to explore "flatness of sight" and help readers think and work beyond it by opening up new perceptive possibilities. It proposes that we think about unflattening as a "simultaneous engagement of multiple vantage points from which to engender new ways of seeing," and beautifully embodies what it can look like to make that happen. Readers will find thoughtful reflections on the possibilities and constraints afforded by working and thinking with different kinds of verbal and visual language, including a consideration of comics as "an amphibious language of juxtapositions and fragments," and some wonderful work on storytelling and imagination. The book includes a wonderful "Notes" section that offers some background on the inspiration behind many of the images (including Flatland, Calvino's Six Memos for the New Millennium, Deleuze & Guattari, and many others) a bibliography for further reading, and a series of maps of the structure of the book when it was a work-in-progress. It's a fabulous book that is a pleasure to read and deserves a wide readership.

For more on Nick's work on Unflattening and beyond, check out his website: http://spinweaveandcut.com/. For listeners and readers interested in teaching with the book, check out this site: http://scholarlyvoices.org/unflattening/index.html

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