‘This Journey is a Book’ is a site-specific artwork made for Peckham Library, comprised of ten books (or chapters) scattered right across the library’s collection. Each chapter has the name of the book that it sits next to on the shelf and when read together the books take the reader on a journey across the breadth of the library.
When exhibited, ‘This Journey is a Book’ also contained a introductory page, which could be taken away. The artefact provided contextual information about the work. A copy of the Preface is part of the Ephemera Collection in the shop.
“I have frequently made work for libraries, as they are such unique and inspiring places. I particularly like Peckham Library, as it is a really striking building and has a very broad collection. ‘This Journey is a Book’ attempts to guide a visitor through the space allowing them to stop in sections they not otherwise visit.”
‘The Library of Chance Encounter’ is a pocket-sized artwork which tells the story of a single meeting between two people and the influence that shared experience has. The work is comprised of a series of cards which contain a text, an image or a barcode that can be read with a smartphone. The images and barcodes link to real books (which can be read online) and collectively these create a virtual library, a library that spins out from that one chance encounter.
“My intention is to create a work that is intimate in size and pleasing to hold and engage with. This kind of one-to-one encounter with the work is important as it heightens the personal nature of the unfolding story. I’m intrigued by the potential that technology holds (especially in providing seemingly unlimited access to literature) and I love the tension created by combining virtual and physical elements because over time the work could begin to fragment, just like memory, as links become broken.”
Specifications: 26 card tiles (6.5 x 6.5cm), with text, cover photo or QR code on front and wood-effect on back. The work is an edition of ten and copies are held in public and private collections.
The Library of Chance Encounter
‘The Library of Chance Encounter’ is a pocket-sized artwork which tells the story of a single meeting between two people and the influence that shared experience has.
The British Library is a large and colourful artwork by Yinka Shonibare which comprises a huge collection of specially bound reclaimed books, covered in vibrant Dutchwax fabric and embossed in gold with the names of notable British figures who were born outside the UK or have non-British ancestry.
The volume of books and the number of well-known names is surprising, drawing our attention to the rich and expansive impact migrants have had on British daily life and culture, a debt that sometimes seems overlooked to me.
‘The Unassuming Collection’ is an immersive poem set in a library that unfolds gently over thirty pages. Each right-hand page contains a striking image taken from an existing book and each left-hand page features a line of text and a QR code. When the QR code is scanned (using any barcode reading app) the reader is taken to the complete book that the image was taken from. In effect ‘The Unassuming Collection’ is a library within a book, each line a departure point for a new experience. The books that make up this ‘library’ relate to the text of the poem, creating an interesting collection.
“I love the way that through reading books can be a gateway to another world and a window on another way of life. I also find it incredible that technology, specifically the Internet, can be a portal through which we can access a whole host of objects that we would not have otherwise had access to. I wanted to bring the two ideas together in one artwork; a poem that could be immersive and a book that could hold many other books within it.”
The first edition of the ‘The Unassuming Collection’ was created as a full-colour pamphlet. See below.
‘Daily Miracles’ was commissioned by Leeds College of Art as part of its Library Interventions series and is an artwork designed to bridge the college’s two distinct libraries. The work comprises two sets of six books (one set for each library) which together tell a simple story about the place, incorporating details about the surrounding books and features of the library itself. The books are spread across the collection (prompting the viewer to make a journey through the space) and include references to real details draw their attention to where they are – both in terms of their physical location and also within the larger institution of the library.
“Both libraries at Leeds College have a distinct flavour, so I was keen to make an artwork that linked the two. By weaving in real details about both locations, such as noises, sights and goings on, the work hopefully breaks a visitor’s routine and makes them stop to question where they are and what they are doing. I also hope that the story itself is of interest and is engaging enough to prompt the viewer to explore the collection book by book.”
Specifications: Six A5 pamphlets. Exterior: glossy, full-colour. Interior: black text on white paper. Edition of ten, signed and numbered.