The concept of this book, Inanimate, is as ambitious as it is unique. It combines sophisticated art photography with skillfully edited facts about the animal kingdom, packaged in a stealthy, tongue-in-cheek guidebook form. These slightly disparate elements — artful photographs, purely factual text, and casual form — are intended to come together in the reader’s mind as a strong environmental message. And it is the tone and delivery of this call to take another look at our relationship with nature that sets Inanimate apart. In this polemic era in which sledgehammer-like diatribes are the norm, the authors’ willingness to let the reader reach his or her own conclusions shines through.
The photos speak as much through their formal composition as how they document the depiction of animals in our culture. The carefully selected, minimal text is a thought-provoking foil to the visuals. Concise and fully referenced, these annotations are presented with the breathing room to allow their significance to bloom. As a whole, the book invites repeated review and serious consideration. Inanimate breaks new ground in the crowded arena of environmental books. It neither dumbs down nor overly intellectualizes its core message: It is time for the human race to rethink its position in the natural world.
March 10, 2018
Bob Sliwa is an artist and the Advance Design Director of Cobo Design, one of the largest industrial design firms in Japan. He is the author of several books on brand and design strategies for Japanese monozukuri companies and a judge for Japanese Car of the Year.