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Unit/10 book list – Matt Pyke, Universal Everything

As part of our Unit/10 anniversary celebrations, we’re running a series of book lists here on the site. For our second list we asked Matt Pyke, founder of art and design studio Universal Everything, to pick a selection of his favourite books that have helped shape his life and work.

The ground-breaking projects that Pyke and his various collaborators have created over 15 years is the subject of our forthcoming book, What is Universal Everything?, more details of which will be revealed very soon. For now, enjoy Matt’s own list of inspirational and thought-provoking books.

The Object Stares Back – On the Nature of Seeing by James Elkins

The book which taught me the fundamentals of seeing, our primal perception of movement and the phenomenon of Pareidolia – revealing faces in forms.

Four Thousand Threads by Dick Jewell

An independently-published artist’s book, greatly disobeying usage rights. The artist finds the links between thousands of similar photographs courtesy of Google’s AI-driven ‘find similar images’ function. It reveals global harmonies of human behaviours.

Dawn of the New Everything: A Journey Through Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier

A book of wisdom by the pioneer of VR and maverick critic of Silicon Valley. Always a decade ahead of his time.

Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age by Paul Graham

An early book of writings by the most thoughtful and honest mind of Silicon Valley, and founder of pioneering startup school, Y Combinator.

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

The first chapter alone confidently predicts what may become the next Google, an AI-owned multinational creating the most desirable products every human needs, thanks to today’s overuse of user-behaviour tracking. Scary, but better for us to be prepared...!

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

An enlightening insight into the depth of Da Vinci’s restless mind. Reassuring to see him rarely finishing many of his ideas and obsessions. His paintings are viewed anew, as proof of his understandings of the fundamentals of optics, fluid dynamics and anatomy.

A Bigger Message – Conversations with David Hockney by Martin Gayford

Yorkshire’s greatest export expresses himself in such a confident manner, which inspires me to work with integrity and a singular voice to represent our world.

Watermark by Joseph Brodsky

More Venice than Venice itself.

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

Such visual writing conjuring places from memory, my recollection of reading this feels like I’ve watched a film.

The Old Ways by Robert McFarlane

On my daily traipses across the Peak District, his poetic writing helps me see nature from new angles.

Unit/10 is our celebration of ten years of Unit Editions. Look out for more book lists and details of other projects in the coming weeks.