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Penny Nii, Mohammed Allababidi & Enrique Gavidia


Digital Over Analog (D/A) book

Totality is a Digital Over Analog (D/A) book created in collaboration between Penny Nii, a book artist, and Mohammed Allababidi and Enrique Godivia, game animators and app developers. D/A books straddle the world of the book (analog) and e-readers (digital).

Totality, the first D/A book, consists of a letterpress and screen-printed book and an “augmented reality” app incorporating animations, still images, music and readings. It integrates the arts and crafts of the book with digital technology.

Totality is a stand-alone book containing a narrative about a total eclipse of the sun and myths about eclipses from around the world passed down for the past four millennia. The primary goal of using digital augmentation is to enhance the contents beyond what can be accomplished by words on paper, without overwhelming them visually.

Unity, a game engine that incorporates the Qualcomm Augmented Reality plug-in, was the primary digital tool. It enabled the overlay of dynamic 3D model of a solar eclipse onto the pages of the book alongside the text, and to explain how the geometry of the sun, the earth and the moon make viewing a total eclipse from the earth possible. The background music was digitally processed to create the mood of foreboding that many observers, past and present, feel as totality approaches. An actor’s recitation of a passage from Hamlet describing the effect of this melancholic experience brings Shakespeare into the mix. The D/A app is available for Apple and Android tablets and smart phones.


“Gutenberg has been waiting for a digital portal.” Edward Feigenbaum, March 2012

“I am hugely intrigued by the way you’ve transformed a QR code into something beautiful. That’s a major contribution to the world’s 21st century visual lexicon!”

John Hollar, CEO Computer History Museum, 4/6/2012

“It’s a total eclipse of the mind!” A fan at San Francisco Center for the Book (see video), 2/17/2012


Penny Nii, a former researcher in artificial intelligence at Stanford University, is a book artist and an amateur eclipse-chaser.

Mohammed Allababidi, 3D game developer, animator and instructor in digital arts, created for this project the augmented reality art that illustrates the eclipse of the sun, its view from earth, and the historical illustrations about eclipses.

Enrique Gavidia, currently a computer science student at San Francisco State University, implemented the Augmented Reality portion of the book, and created and engineered the soundtracks.


Book demo: Reception:

D/A web site: (in process)

Penny Nii:

Mohammid Allababidi: Review in – Northern California Art: of-the-book-seager-gray/

Purchase Totality

Totality was published in an edition of 25 in February 2012. It comes housed in a deluxe clamshell box, which has been designed to also hold an iPad. The printing and binding is by John Sullivan of Logos Graphics and clamshell box is by John DeMerritt.

In the Collections of

Stanford University Special Collections Library Mary Austin, San Francisco Center for the Book Charles Hobson, Pacific Editions James Hendler, Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute Stephen Stinehour, Capital Offset Company Mary-Anne Williams, University of Technology, Sydney

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