‘Goethe’s Divan for Divination’ is a playful artwork which takes a selection of Goethe’s romantic and colourful poems and makes them suitable for divination.
The book work was originally made for exhibition as part of a group show in Düsseldorf which responded to the work of famous poets, investigating them from a different angle. Goethe’s poetry (and psychically the ‘Divan’) has often been inspired by the work of the Persian poet Hafez, a writer who’s books are frequently used for bibliomancy (divining the future).
The book is intended to be a light-hearted introduction to Geothe’s poetry and includes the original annotations from Alexander Rogers’ 1890 translation.
Goethe is not an author I knew particularly well, so the exhibition provided a great excuse to get to know the work better. I particularly loved the connection between Goethe and Hafez, so wanted to draw a creative parallel between them. I hope you enjoy the experience of happening upon particular poems and discovering Goethe’s poems afresh.
The current edition of ‘Goethe’s Divan for Divination’ is a paperback. An earlier pamphlet edition is also available from the shop and is featured below.
Goethe’s Divan for Divination
Goethe’s Divan for Divination is based on the West-Eastern Divan by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and takes a selection of Goethe’s romantic and colourful poems and makes them suitable for bibliomantic study.
Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan for Divination is based on the West-Eastern Divan by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
The book takes a selection of Goethe’s romantic and colourful poems and makes them suitable for bibliomantic study. The connection is that Goethe’s work in the Divan was inspired by the poetry of the Persian poet Hafez, whose work in turn is said to be used to tell the future.
‘The Temporal Guide’ is a story that takes place in the Science Museum. It follows two visitors who travel through the building and through its history gallery-by-gallery.
“I had the idea to make an alternative ‘guide’ to the museum after seeing some old photographs showing familiar spaces housing very different objects. I thought it would be interesting to give life to these images and to paint a picture of the museum as a dynamic, living place.”
‘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.