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Titles By Philippe Petit
Philippe Petit is known for his astounding feat of daring when, on August 7, 1974, he stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City. But beyond his balance, courage, and showmanship, there was one thing Petit had to be absolutely certain of—his knots. Without the confidence that his knots would hold, he never would have left the ground. In fact, while most of us don’t think about them beyond tying our shoelaces, the humble knot is crucial in countless contexts, from sailing to sports to industrial safety to art, agriculture, and more.
In this truly unique book, Petit offers a guide to tying over sixty of his essential knots, with practical sketches illustrating his methods and clear tying instructions. Filled with photos in which special knots were used during spectacular high-wire walks, quirky knot trivia, personal anecdotes, helpful tips, magic tricks, and special tying challenges, Why Knot? will entertain and educate readers of all ages.
“In reading Philippe’s book we are cogently reminded that without the ability to secure a rope, or tether a goat, or make fast the sheets of a galley, much of the civilization that we take for granted would disappear as easily as a slipknot in the hands of a Vegas conjuror.” —Sting, musician and activist
“His descriptions are clear, he deploys humor frequently and he makes his points with anecdotes that are colorful and memorable. Explaining the purpose and creation of knots and thanks to those flawless drawings Mr. Petit earns perfect marks.” —The Wall Street Journal
Since well before his epic 1974 walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Philippe Petit had become an artist who answered first and foremost to the demands of his craft—not only on the high wire, but also as a magician, street juggler, visual artist, builder, and writer. A born rebel like many creative people, he was from an early age a voracious learner who taught himself, cultivating the attitudes, resources, and techniques to tackle even seemingly impossible feats. His outlaw sensibility spawned a unique approach to the creative process—an approach he shares, with characteristic enthusiasm, irreverence, and originality in Creativity: The Perfect Crime.
Making the reader his accomplice, Petit reveals new and unconventional ways of going about the artistic endeavor, from generating and shaping ideas to practicing and problem-solving to pulling off the “coup” itself—executing a finished work. The strategies and insights he shares will resonate with performers of every stripe (actors, musicians, dancers) and practitioners of the non-performing arts (painters, writers, sculptors), and also with ordinary mortals in search of fresh ways of tackling the challenges and possibilities of everyday existence.
An artist of the air re-creates his six-year plot to pull off an act of incomparable beauty and imagination
One late-summer day, a feat of unimaginable audacity was perpetrated on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The year was 1974. A hundred thousand people gathered on the ground to watch in awe as twenty-four-year-old high wire artist Philippe Petit made eight crossings between the all-but-completed towers, a quarter mile above the earth, over the course of nearly an hour.
Petit's achievement made headlines around the world. Yet few who saw or heard about it realized that it was the fulfillment of a dream he had nurtured for six years, rekindling it each time it was in danger of expiring. His accomplices were a motley crew of foreigners and Americans, who under Petit's direction had conpired, connived, labored, argued, rehearsed, and improvised to make possible an act of unsurpassed aerial artistry.
In this visually and verbally stunning book, Petit tells for the first time the dramatic story of this history-making walk, from conception and clandestine planning to the performance and its aftermath. The account draws on Petit's journals, which capture everything from his budgets to his strategies for rigging a high wire in the dead of night between two of the most secure towers in the world. It is animated by photographs taken by two of Petit's collaborators, and by his own wonderfully evocative sketches and unquenchable humor.