Friday 19th September 2014


Songs of Illumination and Digitisation

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Songs of Imagination and Digitisation

William Blake


Features: Sound and moving images, walks and talks, opportunities to participate.

Production credits: if:book / House of Blake / Eray Hussain / Bloodaxe Books

Launch date: April 2009

Songs of Imagination & DigitisationSongs of Imagination and Digitisation

Songs of Imagination and Digitisation is an illuminated book for the digital age, published by if:book with support from Arts Council England. Unlike more conventional books on paper, Songs of Imagination and Digitisation contains sound and moving images, involves walks and talks, even an imaginary brain made of copper plates, plus opportunities to enter your own thoughts and ideas. The book grew over a few months, with commissions and themes emerging along the way.

Writer Caleb Klaces was the first contributor. Caleb is a poet, writer and editor-in-chief of, a project that pairs poets and gets them talking in poems. He has co-authored a beginner’s guide to sustainability, published by Duncan Baird.

Poems are forthcoming or recently published in Poetry and Oxford Poetry. Blake scholar Paige Morgan is next. On 22 April 2009 Toby Jones undertook the first of three Blakean walks devised for him by Tim Wright and reported back his visions shortly afterwards.

A recent addition to the book is Paris-based artist Julie Dalmon’s slide show of illustrations for The Sick Rose.

Songs of Imagination and Digitisation was produced and curated by the if:so team: Toni le Busque, Chris Meade and Sasha Hoare.


Songs of Imagination & DigitisationSongs of Imagination and Digitisation

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One Response to “Songs of Imagination and Digitisation”

  1. Andy Campbell Says:

    April 29th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    This is an interesting piece of work which uses a form of Flash page-flipping technology that’s been around since about 2004. Its a great canvas onto which to put digital writing because it has an immediate familiarity for the reader/user in its shape and functionality. The fact that you can drop video, audio and animation into the mix is being fully taken advantage of by sites such as and, shortly, the beautifully presented

    We launched our project back in 2002 with the idea of a virtual book (before the Flash page flip code was even available) in the form of a fictional dream journal called ‘Inside’ which followed the story of a man slowly being poisoned by his gas fire –

    This piece was launched at the Sorbonne in Paris the same year and some of the contributors to Songs of Imagination and Digitisation were there to see it. In 2009 it was translated into French and remains an item of curiosity to students interested in digital fiction globally.

    Over the last 8 years we have created other projects based around the ‘virtual book’ interface too. Such as The Rut, put together in 2004, in which a self-publishing author can’t seem to get past his first page. And The Diary of Anne Sykes, also done in 2004, which warps the book interface into origami-style shapes and plays with animated text to the extreme. And also The Scrapbook from 2005, which uses the exact same technology as Songs of Imagination…

    When allow multimedia content – and I have great faith that they’ll do it well – it should be easy for authors to create some spectacular digital publications in this manner for no cost at all and have them made available across multiple platforms/devices.

    Andy Campbell

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