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Lounge Loves: The kiddie book of the season

A magical book for children, Wes Anderson's new animation, and Dayanita Singh's new art book

She awoke one night and found her name had vanished. And there it was, under the bed, a rainbow trail with its ends illuminated, one that would take her on an adventure to get the name back.

The Little Girl/Boy Who Lost Her/His Name is already a gifting sensation. In November, its creator, the UK-based start-up Lost My Name, sold more than two million copies.

The idea, which combines technology and art, is a bit gimmicky—exactly the feel-good kind that works during the holiday season.

That the book is so cute, and beautifully produced, helps. On the website, you fill in the name, language and gender of your child—and the story gets personalized. Each book varies in length, and would work best for children below the age of 7. While Emily might have to meet an elephant and a mermaid, Noyonika could meet a narwhal, an ostrich, a yeti and an okapi. The last page will extract squeals or smiles, depending on your child.

It has been reported that Lost My Name has a follow-up, The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home, which uses technology in more interesting ways to make the book personal.

Visit here to order. The book costs Rs1,799.

Sanjukta Sharma

Pocket Museum’ contains nine miniature museums and a book.
Pocket Museum’ contains nine miniature museums and a book.

Dayanita Singh’s ‘Pocket Museum’

It was nearly a year ago, at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi, that photographer Dayanita Singh showcased a collection of memories, which she artfully scattered across nine wooden structures. She termed these “photo architecture".

Museums Of Vitrines, Little Ladies, Furniture, Men, Machines, and more, emerged as a result of the endless processes of editing, sequencing and archiving of images that Singh had taken since the beginning of her career. From that labyrinthine maze of wooden structures, these images have now made their way into Singh’s latest creation, Pocket Museum.

Consisting of nine “museums" in book form and a book of text in a box, Pocket Museum is a miniature version of Singh’s exhibition last year, Museum Bhavan. The Pocket Museum has been published by Steidl.

In recent years, the photo book has emerged as Singh’s primary medium. Through it, she has tried to change the way photography is viewed, taking it beyond a passive engagement with an image mounted on a wall. Pocket Museum, which was unveiled at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum on 22 December, takes this idea into new terrain. There are 3,000 such pocket museum objects, and they come in a unique case. “So, each piece, priced at €90 (around Rs6,380), is one-of-a-kind," says Singh. “It is a privilege to not just be part of great museum collections but also of homes across the world, with no two family archives having the same pocket museum."

There have been some additions to the images that were contained in the original museums. “For instance, the Museum Of Chance has now become very large, with nearly 200 images. So, I have made a new book called the Ongoing Museum. From within the File Museum, I have created a Godrej Museum, which features all Godrej cupboards," says Singh.

Another interpretation of the book form can be seen in the Kochi Box, containing 31 images that she made in Kerala. “These images are printed on cards and placed in a wooden box which can be mounted on a wall," she says. The front of the box acts as a frame for the image. “You can decide which of the 31 images you want to keep in front on a given day," says Singh. This way, the book becomes both the work and the exhibition.

The Kochi Box is the first publication from Singh’s Spontaneous Books, which allows her to build limited-edition books. “It comes in an edition of 360, and can be bought only in Kochi during the (ongoing) biennale at the Malabar House Hotel," she says. Pocket Museum and Kochi Box can be viewed as part of the ongoing exhibition, Suitcase Museum, till 21 February, 10am-6pm, at Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum, Mumbai.

Avantika Bhuyan

Be a part of Wes Anderson’s next

Ever wondered what it would feel like to be part of a Wes Anderson film? This is your chance. Sort of. Just weeks after releasing an ad film for retailer H&M in his characteristic style, Anderson announced through a video that he is now at work on a new stop-motion film called Isle of Dogs. This will be his second such film, after Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009).

The 3-minute video was released on CrowdRise, a fund-raising platform that Anderson has partnered with for the film. Set in Japan, the story is about the adventure-filled journey of a boy in search of his dog. With a $10 contribution, the web page tells you, you could win a chance to voice the character of a dog in the film— with the small disclaimer that “barking, howling & whimpering may be required." If you win, you will join a star-studded voice cast with Anderson-regulars like Bill Murray and Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, and Jeff Goldblum.

Norton, who has earlier acted in Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), also features in the video, gently reminding Anderson from the background of his character Rex’s role in the film as “one of the lead dogs". A voiceless, half-second shot of the stop-motion dog is the only “sneak preview" that Anderson offers his audience.

Additionally, the film will also feature the voices of Scarlett Johansson, indie-film favourite Greta Gerwig, and artist-activist Yoko Ono, among others. A day after Anderson’s video statement, it has been announced that Fox Searchlight has picked up rights to the film.

Your donations will also be for a greater cause, for the contributions will be in support of The Film Foundation, an over two-decades-old charity set up by director Martin Scorsese, “dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history". Isle of Dogs is expected to release in 2018.

Vangmayi Parakala

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