Last week, I did a post-Faire piece about the little things at a Maker Faire that are easy to overlook. One of the reasons for this is that there’s so much inspirational eye- and brain-candy at a Faire, that it becomes hard to know where to look. The bigger, louder, sexier exhibits tend to draw your eye and your attention. Subtler, more high-concept exhibits can also be easily overlooked if you’re not disciplined, so I was glad I got to spend some time with Fairy Tales, Science Fiction and Freud: Telling Stories on Friday afternoon, before the big weekend crowds descended.

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Fairy Tales, Science Fiction and Freud: Telling Stories is a collaboration between artists Marianne Petit and Jody Culkin. While I was the Editorial Director of Make:, I had the pleasure of working on some projects with Jody who’s a very talented illustrator and cartoonist. Here, she’s teamed up with artist and animator Marianne Petit to create a fascinating and gorgeous series of hybrid media pop-up books that explore 19th century science, sci-fi, and story telling using 21st century technologies.

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On their Tumblr page, they explain the project:

Fairy Tales, Science Fiction, and Freud: Telling Stories is work by Marianne Petit and Jody Culkin, told in a variety of media that include pop-up books with embedded electronics, animation, 3D papercraft, VR, and other materials and objects. These pieces are based on stories that originated in the 19th century. Marianne Petit’s work illustrates “Struwwelpeter,” a children’s book written in 1845 by Heinrich Hoffman, Jody Culkin’s work is based on “1975,” a science fiction play written in 1875 by sculptor Harriet Hosmer, and “The Interpretation of Dreams,” written by Sigmund Freud in 1899.

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I was really impressed not only by how beautifully everything was illustrated and put together, but by their clever integration of LCD screens, LEDs, and QR codes with additional animated dimensions to the stories. And, of course, the old-school art of paper pop-up elements. It all makes for a very engaging exploration of the stories and it really does create this dreamy experience of mixing the stories of the past with the story-telling technologies of three (plus) centuries.

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