This Lovely Interactive Picture Book Uses Light And Shadow To Tell An Ever-Changing Story

Shadow art probably started about 20 minutes after the first caveman discovered fire. Which makes the fact that a book like Megumi Kajiwara and Tathuhiko Nijima’s Motion Silhouette all the more remarkable: the technology for a book that uses paper inserts to allow readers to tell the story by applying light to create a moving shadow has existed for centuries, but shadowgraphy has traditionally been a performing art, not the intimate, personal experience of reading a book.

Each copy of Motion Silhouette is made by hand, and sells for roughly $60. Innovations in interactive books are constantly being made, but the idea that all of the technology that’s needed to innovate in this way is some paper cut in a specific way, and a light to shine through it, is fascinating–and the experience of Motion Silhouette is genuinely interactive.

As Kajiwara and Nijuma write on their Tumblr, which showcases the work, “Trees become bigger and bigger” as you move the light, and the “story changes depending on the falling shadows.” Essentially, depending on the environment in which you read the book, the images you create to help tell the story are different–and because shadow is an impermanent element, it returns to the original state as soon as you read it again.

See a making-of video below.