Another piece of work, presently in progress and inspired by my research into libraries and fire, is an installation of blackened books. I have purposefully selected a series of Observer Books. Beside the titles offering a symbolic element, I have a personal connection; these books were a feature of my childhood. Pocket sized and covering a huge range of topics, they encouraged readers to explore and identify objects in the world around them.
Blackened, they represent loss. As libraries fight to keep funding and as access to information via computers becomes increasing easy, I reflect on the struggles that people in the not so distant past have faced in pursuing access to education. It is easy for us these days to take the familiar for granted. Our towns would be a poorer place without libraries and archives.
“Books are the carriers of civilisation. Without books history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilisation would have been impossible”
Barbara Tuchman, author, from her 1980 address at the Library of Congress.
Fragments saved from the ravages of fire often become treasured symbols of hope. They form the basis around which new collections are built and restored. Like a phoenix they rise from the ashes once more.
I am also part of Bookscapes Collective.
Bookscapes is a group of six artists that have developed a group practice specialising in site specific interventions and exhibitions.