The Pickle Index By Anna Gerber (Part 2)

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There’s more.

You also get to play with The Pickle Index as a downloadable, notification-able, serialisable app. They call it an immersive, exploratory experience, an app that takes you inside their pickling world; it’s the story told as a short serialised novel (a novel in ten days) or as a pickling recipe sharing app (no time frame here). Or both. Your choice. Either way, it’s very much a digital book that stays faithful to its form. Here is a world that couldn’t live any other way, it blends film together with a novel that is delivered to you daily:  you get news of each day’s “events” and even the option to collect recipes in your own “cookbook”. Recipes about pickling. Will you actually do this? Or read this? Probably not (I haven’t). But the thing is I do like knowing that if I wanted to, I could. And anyway it’s a nice nod to the ‘every story is told by author just as much as it is by reader’ literary bedrock.

Okay, so here’s something that keeps me up at night: why do we call this kind of project “Bold! Brave! Ambitious!” when the shifting sands of what makes a book is hardly new? Israelites used the scroll before the Romans invented the book as codex. This shift was mega, giving us pages (pages!) and a new reading of narrative. Movable type came a few thousand years later and made distribution possible through printing. And meant we could spread stories beyond the church. In came the paperback. (Thank you Penguin.) And the internet. (Thank you Tim Berners-Lee). And bam here we are in 2016 asking what kind of edge we need to call a book a book. Because every shifting sand needs an edge to work with. 

The Pickle Index has a lot of these edges. We have sentences. We have words. We have a story. Tick. We have an appreciation for craft and design and the book as object. Tick. We have fun and play, we even have a spoof Kinfolk YouTube video. Tick. And we have a digitally native experience, something you couldn’t have in the physical world. Tick. The only thing missing is a great story. But hey, maybe that’s okay. Nobody’s perfect.

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