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"Library Re-Edit" Project


Bloeiende Boeken


Friday, April 22, 2016

maren

“BLOEIENDE-BOEKEN”©

Dit is “de handleiding” om uw boeken tot bloei te krijgen.

Heeft u wel eens als u een boek gaat lezen en door de bladzijdes bladert dat uw reukvermogen de overhand neemt op de inhoud van het boek. Dan is het “bloeiende-boeken systeem”© iets voor u.maren Als u zich irriteert aan de geur van het boek en u zich niet kan concentreren of als u het boek lekker vindt ruiken en u door de geur een fantastisch gevoel krijgt dan is in beide gevallen “bloeiende-boeken”© iets voor u!

Deze handleiding geeft u inzicht hoe u uw boeken in huis kan sorteren op geur. Ook als u de geur moeilijk te beschrijven vindt zout, zoet, zuur, kruidig of gewoon lekker of vies dan is te zeggen dat de geur van persoon tot persoon kan verschillen. De geur beleving is bij elke persoon anders. Deze handleiding is voor elke geur-beleving te gebruiken en het geeft de garantie op een geurend en daarmee een “bloeiende- boeken”© systeem .

In ieder huis heb je andere geuren en deze kunnen met het “bloeiende- boeken”© systeem gesorteerd worden. Oude of nieuwe boeken het maakt niet uit. Het is de geur die de sortering bepaalt. “Bloeiende -boeken”© is ontwikkeld voor mensen die afhankelijk van hun stemming een boek kunnen pakken en dan uitsluitend op de geur willen letten. De man achter het idee is prof. dr. Koster, zoals hij vertelt op een boeken/rommelmarkt liep en geinspireerd raakte door de vele geuren die door de vele verschillende boeken op hem afkwamen. Hij besefte toen dat ieder boek een eigen geur had en vele boeken ook weer een gemeenschappelijke hadden. Prof. dr. Koster dacht hier over na en wist de boeken op hun geur te ordenen en hij ontwierp hierop het “ bloeiende-boeken” © systeem. Boeken komen tot bloei door de objecten om hen heen. Ook was hij van mening dat boeken de objecten kunnen beïnvloeden. Na het ordenen van boeken in uw huis op diverse locaties, welke locaties associatie hebben of kunnen krijgen van de geur van het gekozen boek. Met het “bloeiende-boeken”© systeem komen uw boeken beter tot hun recht. Het boeken systeem is snel en makkelijk thuis uit te voeren. U kunt dit natuurlijk zelf doen in een paar stappen en om u het gemakkelijker te maken bij het inrichten van het systeem hebben wij een handige gids te koop op bloeiende-boeken.nl


Vandaag besteld is morgen in huis.
Om u te interesseren voor het “bloeiende-boeken”© systeem hoeft u slechts aan het boek wat u aan het lezen bent of het laatst gelezen hebt te ruiken op de volgende wijze. U bladert in het boek (dit moment is erg cruciaal, want dan wordt door uw reukvermogen de geur van het boek bepaald). Is het boek zoetig, zoutig, kruidig of gewoon lekker of vies. Alle geuren kunnen uw voorkeur hebben en u bent in staat uw boeken volgens het bloeiende-boekensysteem in te delen. Als u geen geur ruikt en het boek neutraal op u overkomt dan kiest u een geur die u het boek zou willen geven.maren Ook dan is het “bloeiende-boeken”© systeem echt iets voor u. Hierna kunt u uw boekenkast met nieuwe en 2e of 3e hands boeken volgens het bloeiende-boekensysteem blijven aanvullen. Zo zal na het plaatsen van de boeken bij de objecten en locaties een “bloeiende-boeken”© systeem bij u in huis ontstaan. Schaf vandaag de handleiding nog aan en beleef morgen het effect op uw zintuig en ordening van het “bloeiende-boeken”© systeem.

maren

The ideal world


Friday, April 22, 2016

 

Or the unexpected discovery of sorting books

In an ideal world we would identify ourselves with knowledge or wisdom.

In an ideal world the most knowledgeable people would be the one with the highest social status.

In an ideal world knowledge would be accessible for everyone.

In an ideal world knowledge would be the strongest weapon to fight with.

In an ideal world we would put higher emphasize on knowledge than money.

How to promote knowledge and what are the negative sides of promoting it?

Since long time libraries are the key for wisdom or knowledge.

There you can find any book on any topic.

After monasteries have opened their libraries the access of this knowledge is easy.

I am very interested in the way libraries can influence their readers. As a cinema can with the choice of movies they are showing, a library can decide which books and in which order, structure they are presented.

Books written by authors whose name start with an A are more likely to be looked at than books written by authors whose name start with a Z. If a library chooses to organize their books according to the alphabet.

I would like to break any of these structures.

In an ideal world libraries would educate their customers by promoting more text books.

This is most important to me.

Even though it is fun to look at books with a lot of pictures inside, I want a library that patronizes its own power to stimulate the creativity and knowledge of the customers.

On the other side I would like to look at the book it self, its shape and its lay out.

When seeing a book, the title is written in a way that a book is not meant to stand in a book shell.

First the cover of a book is severely damaged when standing for a long time in the traditional way.

Second for the customer reading the title of a book will always be harder when seeing it on the side.

Personally my neck always hurts after visiting a book store or a library.

Books need to lay in piles!

Easier to read the title, healthier for the book and your neck.

Seemingly random I chose to organize the books by the length of their title. Shorter title at the bottom, longer title at the top.

When I started to organize the books in this way, I realized something that corresponded exactly with my initial idea that a library should be a place to stimulate knowledge on all levels.

Books with shorter title are more likely to be big books.

Books with longer title seem to be more likely to be small books.

Big Books with shorter titles have more pictures inside.

Small books with longer title have less pictures inside.

I built a pyramid of knowledge.

Data at the bottom,

Wisdom at the top.

The shape of a pyramid gained its efficiency a long time ago already.

Around the world people started simultaneously to built pyramids for their Gods or religion.

Independent pyramids all around the world.

Egypt, Peru, Germany, China, Bosnia, Japan.

How can we understand that people around the world built seemingly similar pyramids without knowing from each other?

Along with a lot of wild theories about aliens, etc. There is a theory that could explain the connection between the different pyramids. Humans have always been impressed by naturals changes and special environmental situations. They saw God’s sign in it. One of these natural changes where the sun rays

breaking through a layer of clouds which hurray had the shape of a pyramids.

Crepuscular_rays8_-_NOAA

In an ideal world people would start believe again in the enlightenment of knowledge.

Nowadays we do not identify ourselves with any religion but social status comes with wealth.

In my ideal library I want to create a modern stairway to enlightenment of knowledge.

I want to incorporate the system of portraying hierarchic structures in our daily life.

A stairway out of books. The reader is forced to first read the books that is at the top of the pile otherwise the pile of books will collapse. As I realized the top part of my books pyramids are books with only text. If the reader wants to read a book which is more at the bottom of the text, he has to ‘work’ his way down. Until he can read the desired book. After that happened, he can decide to continue dig to the bottom of the pile or move to the next pile of books.

 des

 des3                                           des4

It does not matter that it may be a book about love, biology or literature. What matters is that the creativity of the reader is stimulated by only reading text.

The more he reads the more picture come in. First his own creativity is encouraged, later he will be able to apply the knowledge he has gained throughout reading the upper part of the pile to the pictures in the lower books.

I see a forest of books piles, up to the ceiling, in which people are forced to start at the top, and read their way down, getting to the essence of the topic they are interested in.

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Each pile is dealing with a different field of study. Biology, Politics etc. 

Nowadays our knowledge has changed a lot, we are used to get information quickly and are not used to really dive into the topic of our interest. Less people read and more people only look at pictures, gaining an shallow superficial knowledge about a topic.

In my ideal library this is not possible.

Here people are forced to dive in and are eventually rewarded with a book full of pictures in the end.

In an ideal world.

 

#weightdistribution – Sorting libraries according to… Weight.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

 

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Biblioteche- Umberto Eco -
An exerpt of "Umberto Eco, Sulla memoria. Una conversazione in tre parti, 2015"
by Davide Ferrario

I started off this article by working in the library and re-sorting books with my fellow classmates and artists from the rietveld academie’s basisjaar.

The idea of #weightdistrubition all came about from an apartment that I had the pleasure to stay in for a while in Lisbon, Portugal. Inside this apartment, the floor was literally caving in due to too much weight and uneven distribution of it.
So, to resolve such a problem like this –if getting rid of things isn’t an option when it comes to a home, or to your wonderful library– correct distribution of that weight is key. Although it might not be handy to sort a library by any other way of categorization besides an alphabetical one, this is a solution that is more practical to your own home, a place where you know your own books by their covers.

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To begin we need to have an idea of how much a book weighs. We can always visually scale a book by looking at its size and the material  its cover is made out of, but this can be deceiving as I learned when weighing all the surplus books from the library. There are always books that trick you into thinking they are actually heavy when they, in fact, are very light. amazon.com usually lists weight for each book so there is no need to make calculations if you don’t have a scale, and there is also an actual book weight calculator available at lugaru.com/bookweight.html

The most important thing to take into account when sorting things by weight is where a concentration of weight is and where we can break this down to a spread. So say, if someone has 10 books piled on top of each other the thing to do would be take all the books and lay them down separately next to each other. Sounds simple, right?

After considering weight of the actual objects we’re trying to store, in this case books, the next step is considering, if we actually have a way to store these objects or not, and what we can do to resolve this. Bookshelf sagging is an epidemic in many households, and it’s only a matter of time until a bookshelf will give in if it starts to sag.

Let’s start by examining the floor you’re stepping on – does it seem sturdy or does it seem weak? does it creek when you walk on it or can you jump on it and hear nothing? Odds are that your floor is totally fine and that this is the least of your worries when dealing with heavy books in your own home, this is more of a thing to take into account for an architect or designer when actually designing libraries and shelves. (The fact that basements > attics become often library storage, is not just for fun.)

Let’s move onto the actual bookshelf itself. Bookshelves are not created equal, and they aren’t created to cope with every set of books out there. There are different materials and structures used to make them stronger. Some involve thicker shelving and some involve different bracing, whatever it may be, you want to be able to feel like your books (and your floor) are safe when put away. Although weight distribution is very important when it comes to sorting books, taking the provisional step of actually making sure you have a frame that will absorb that much weight is a necessary precaution.

When it comes to materials, each set of material requires it’s own approach and precaution. Plywood for example, is not recommendable if it’s less than 2cm thick. Attaching bookshelves to walls is a solution that many people opt for at home, but when it comes to heavy books and their correct distribution, is not practical. But for all those that really want to go this route with their books, lumber panels with corbel braces should do the trick. Lumber panels are the strongest wooden shelf material, and they come with the advantage of a high-end wooden appearance. For sturdy free standing bookshelves made for the craziest amount of weight possible, the ideal solution would be heavy duty Dexion shelving, used mainly in palette racking in warehouses. These shelves are available in parts and affordable so a home setup is definitely do-able.

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All-in-all correct distribution of weight when it comes to bookshelves is key, especially to big collectors and even art aficionado’s, as art history books tend to usually weigh over 2 kilos. For the library we managed to sort during our classes, everything that weighed over 2Kg, such as most of the Documenta catalogues, was destined for the bottom shelf. Then from 1.5Kg to 2Kg, books could be sorted up to the fourth shelf, and so on, until we got to the top shelf, where the lightest books, papers, sheets, photographs and in some cases empty cases with missing catalogues inside could be deposited.

When it comes to a list of aesthetic solutions for sorting books, weight is definitely not included. Weight and its correct distribution is a tool for the practical collectors who have an immense surplus of books (and normally, quite heavy ones). Balancing weight can be key to not damage books, shelves, storage units or even floors in libraries or in your own home. Keeping weight in account is a necessary step for any type of organization when it comes to a space, not only for books, but for everything that needs to be placed somewhere, whether it’s a needle or a tv set. The reason I chose this solution, really came out of my necessity to keep weight in mind when I was staying at this very unstable house with a very unstable floor I referred to before. In my case, the books were other objects, sometimes even more fragile and this was always a lurking dark cloud of a problem that wouldn’t go away unless there was that correct distribution of weight, and actual order in the household’s organization itself (unfortunately not too many dinner parties were held here).

 

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Turn the shelf, turn the page


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 

When I walk through bookshelves comparing labels and the code I found in computer system, I feel that it is too right to do so. It is like a treasure hunt with a map showing exactly where the treasure is. The code efficiently directs me to the book I need but in a completely closed way. There can not be everything in a book itself. The thing I really want to get from books is more often in somewhere                 between                 books than in a single page. So the whole point is matching a book with a good pair, or a good group, or a good pile of books. This is a collective activity, which is not necessarily precise but friendly.

 

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1) Every spine of books you can see in front of the shelf is under a certain theme. They are like a quick index you can highlight. They follow the an alphabetical order, so you should go to the first shelf if you are looking for ‘Abstractionism’.

front

 *The ‘theme books’ do not have to be really representative to be there, as long as they can stand autonomously with a clear keyword in their title and not duplicate the other theme.

 

2) If you feel like diving into the subject and seeing more things about it, you should go the other way around the shelf. Other books which are considered to be part of same category would be placed next to it in the opposite way. Just as you click the blue hyperlink in Wikipedia for extra information.

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Photo references, books which are written by the same author or in the same series could be obviously related. But there also could be hidden connections which you would never understand the relevance of if you have not read them. Unexpected encounters from this        l      o          o     s        e              c     o     n     n      e     c    t    i   o  n       could offer a key to the totally different world, or an advanced step in a research, or maybe a clue in a maze that made you interested but confused. It opens up and widens the space between each little subjects and makes a playground to think and read.

 

3)Every reader can be a participant of the organization, so it is always welcome to replace or move books. There are no definite criteria to locate them-it is not random but super subjective. If you feel like that is not a right place for it or there is a better spouse for it, go for it. Maybe you could have a hard time to find the same book next time if someone disagreed with your choice and moved it, but that also enables you to track another adventure that the same book went through.

 

All the choices reflect personal moments and thoughts that people have really experienced and are willing to share them. The subjective reaction on books can find and activate the potential connection between them. With this, the identity of a book gets defined over and over again by its surrounding which continuously changes. Where is it? What is on the left side of it? What is on the right side of it? Where was it? Where is it going to be? This is a collective activity with unlimited possibilities, which is not necessarily precise but friendly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spaces in Between


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 
 

Spaces in Between

 

 


Unsorted, disarranged, unorganised library, full of elements placed according to different components, which have an order or perhaps do not have it at all, just existing in an unrestricted randomness. Which ironically speaking could actually be seen as the same thing, since a lack of order is also an order in itself. Chaos with a clear beginning and ending kind of like a bad book. What exactly did I find there…? Big books, small books, orange, white, shiny, mat, hard, soft, precious, forgotten, books that are filled with content, wedding books. Books of a specific nature, books that are about nothing at all, ones that wait for attention and ones nobody cares about. Art books, design, educational, pointless, and sharp and blunt, basically all you can find in a library. I was asked to find a solution for the lack of structure in their position on the shelf. So the primary question that I am asking myself is; what is the point of doing it at all? Of course the obvious reason would be the easy access to the content, otherwise lost in the madness of disorganisation. However, I still struggle to understand why to bother ourselves with creating this specific order, if in the end it is still the same amount of books in the same space? Somehow I think this action is irrelevant, especially if we put so much effort into creating a puzzle that can be made in an infinite amount of ways… according to any system that a specific person would find attractive or interesting (depth weight, etc).

 

    In the name of captivation and curiously-provocative passage, I am trying to crack this system of easy predictable result, which in my opinion is rather obvious to foresee if you limit yourself by the boundary of an actual shelf. Instead of doing that I would rather step out of this radius. The concept that I tried to create is aiming to expand the perspective on how we view the book. What is a book actually? In short, it is a box of content pocket size captured by the single pages glued together, now isn’t that somehow equal to the very idea of a book shelf, in which many different books are aligned in the same way as the pages, however this time at a larger scale of information? Somehow I believe it is possible to see these systems as parallel ones. If a thousand books make a library; then, so to a thousand pages, and further, a book can also be seen as a pocket size bibliotheca.


The establishment of the fact that from now on, one copy can stand on its own, gives me the possibility of putting in on a pedestal and seeing it as something autonomous, in other words, let’s give the books the space that they deserve. There is no reason why they should be kept together in one place since in the end it’s just creating a bigger chaos. Let us treat books as unique objects instead of piling them on top of each other. As absurd as this sounds, to create an order you have to separate everything from each other and never put them back together again.


For my next step, I have chosen ten books from the shelf that I eventually turned into their own autonomous libraries, spread all over the city; one book for one building. I did this by searching for the places that seemed to me as the right environments for the books.  The main question that I had to ask myself, is how do I decide what aspect of the book should be the main criteria for the location, the physicality or the content. Not to leave it too vague, by physicality I mean the literal materiality of the book and where it could fit in the space of a building, so in the end it seems as the space was designed for the book and not reversed. In this case of preciseness, the dilemma of leaving the content out of the picture was not so disturbing anymore. However, after I found the main foundation that would determine the way of approach, I decided to take it further and only use the fore edge  of the books (opposite side to the spine), which presents it as more of an anonymous object rather than a work.


The result of this practice was the creation on ten completely autonomous bibliothecas, in ten different buildings. This created a situation in which a book stopped being a book, but rather a body living in perfect symbiosis with the surrounding environment.

 

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A Chain Game


Monday, April 18, 2016

Organizing.

Some people hate it, some people love it, and some people just don’t care. Our assignment was to find a new way to organize a couple of hundred books. I myself see organizing as something relaxing, and as something that should clear your head. Like a game, organizing is a puzzle. Making everything right and finding the perfect place for every little lost piece.

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But what about objects and books that are hard to place somewhere? Books that look insignificant. How can you make them fit in? When I was scanning through all the books in the library, a nude colored book caught my eye, the cover didn’t give me any clues what it was about. There were no letters on the cover and no pictures. The way it was standing there made it look very lost in this big pile of loud and screaming books. All the books looked like they wanted to catch your eye and get the most attention. But this book didn’t seem to care that no one would ever take it out. Like a shy girl that always sits in the back of the class. But being shy and not wanting to be seen doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve some attention from time to time.

Games are a good way to make an interactive system for books, books have so many aspects that you can play with. Titles; the name of the Author; the year and of course the publisher. And even a book with nothing on the cover can have so much aspects that you can play with. All these aspects reminded me of the dots on domino dices. But instead of connecting the dots on the dices, you can also connect the titles, authors or the aspects of the book that for you has the most value. Then I remembered this game that I used to play when I was little, me and my dad would sit in the sun and play this game endlessly to help me learn how to spell words. He would start with a word and then I would come up with a new word, the first letter of this new word had to be the last letter of his previous word.

MONKEYSSAUNAARTWORK

It is not a new fact that we like these kind of games, the oldest confirmed written mention of dominoes in China comes from the Former Events in Wulin (i.e. the capital Hangzhou) written by the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) author Zhou Mi (1232–1298), who listed “pupai” (gambling plaques or dominoes) as well as dice as items sold by peddlers during the reign of Emperor Xiaozong of Song (r. 1162–1189). This shows that the human being has always enjoyed making connections between things and objects. These games survived and renewed itself for centuries. I don’t think we will ever get bored of them.

With the domino and word games in mind I started with just connecting the titles of all the book on one of the shelves, this shelve consisted out of 49 book. After trying to find the perfect way of connecting them I found out that when i would only just play with the titles I would only be able to give a spot to half of the books, the other 25 were waste and would never find a place. Where would these books go? Would no one ever read them again? Or was there a clear solution.

What if you would see the library as one big puzzle of domino dices. Those dices don’t just have one connection point but they have three. Of course this system could also be applied on the books.

 

 

Here you see what happens when you don’t just give them one connection point but as many connection points as they allow you to make, all the dices start to create a new pattern and once you take one dice out you can put it back after at a new spot where there is no dice yet. It is a constantly changing pattern of organization.

For example I would take a book out which is about Van Gogh and the person before me thought the date of publication was very important, I will find the book at the point where the date is coupled to a different date, after reading this book and getting to know it better I decide that I personally find the Author much more important than the date, so when I would put it back in the book matrix I would find the perfect point where I can couple the first letter of the Authors name to a previous book. But of course there are maybe different things on the cover which have the most value to you, maybe it is the color, or what is showing on the cover, or maybe its even a little sticker that no one noticed before.

This way of organizing creates an opening of looking at books in completely new way. It is no longer seen in this known way of ordering them on category, subject, artist or country. This gives you the opportunity to make new connections between books and their covers. By getting rid of books shelves and opening up a space for a more playful way of organizing.

Making new connections helps you realize that there are always new possibilities in things that we already know so well. We tend to get bored or tired of things that never change, and there is only one way to avoid that boredom, to have a system that will change forever and that tells a lot about what is important.

Breakdown of book bricks


Monday, April 18, 2016

you enter

the room

the walls

are books

their backs

turned on you

the books

won’t share a word

unless you take one of them

one brick from the wall

but the wall they form

can’t be broken down

they turned their backs

on you

you have to turn your head

sideways

to read what their names are

even when it is your own room

your own wall

it can feel like the chinese wall

in fact

it’s all chinese to you

so you give up

a big bookcase

is not in favor

of the books

nor you

the renovation of an ancient building 

now

this is

what i’m going to do

 

i’ll break down the wall

brick by brick

book by book

 

what do i feel?

which book belongs

to that

what i feel

?

 

and

what do i want?

which book belongs

to that

what i want

?

 

where am i

with this feeling that i have

and the book that i want to read

?

 

for each feeling

and each desire

a book

and a place

so i took all the books

out of the room, now it’s empty

like the first page

 

i put the books on piles

piles of feelings and desires

piles of knowledge

books can give you everything

if you take care

 

now this is what i’m going to do

i’ll start to write

first pile

epilogue

learning

i want to learn things

i am curious

big books

history

the atlas

FullSizeRender (7)

dictionaries

encyclopedia

next to notebooks

and dummies

and books for dummies

how to

cut

paste

sew

read

draw

think

find

go

the place is ready

for reading

as well as doing

the worktable

 

second pile

FullSizeRender (6)

introduction

loving

i want to read

about the love in the world

and want it sometimes i feel without love

sometimes i feel in love

and want it

there is a note written inside

with love, for you

i’ll read to you and to myself

poems of love

bed side stories

books that keep a place warm in

 

the bed

 

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third pile

first chapter

you can’t read

on an empty stomach

stained and smelling books about food

and cooking

world dishes

when we sit here we always talk about food and share ideas for dishes and tastes on our tongues

kitchen table

 

 

 

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forth pile
dreaming

second chapter

fantasies

fiction

stories

to disappear in

 

when you think you want

to watch the television

or when you are bored

you sit in the chair

and lean sideways

then you grab a book

and start to read

and to disappear

 

a good chair

 

 

 

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fifth pile

books with mud and sand

third chapter

flowers between the pages

encyclopedias of plants

latin names and hours

of drawing

books of gardening

the hammock or the garden chair

 

 

 

sixth pile

forth chapter

dreams of traveling

flora and fauna

nature and travel books

national geographic

capitol guides

next to the computer

to book a flight

 

computer table

 

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seventh pile

fifth chapter

when you’re an art student

art is everywhere

also when you’re a normal person

there is an art way of looking at things around you

it is nice to have books to leaf through

or read carefully

monographies

biographies

auto

biographies

art

philosophy

theory

catalogues

magazines

fanzines

on the easel

on the bench

on the work table

in the bathroom

in plastic jackets, shower-and-bath-proof

in on behind the closet

everywhere

the rest of the books

many thanks to-

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ideas

pleas

novels

 

books are a part of life

but a wall of books

is too far away

 

to bring the books close

 

to accompany to your tea

and your company

to show pictures and lines

for your eyes only

 

the books can travel with you on vacation

or on a rolling table

through every wall of the house

 

 

 

a book as a bookshelf

Schermafbeelding 2016-04-18 om 21.42.35

books forming a bookcase

holding other books

showing their faces,

finally

when you break down the book wall

you will

discover books

in places unexpected

finding them back

after long loss

a rose

and its smell

between pages

a postcard

a letter

a bookmark

notes, lines, circled words

a younger you

wrote a letter

 

 

surprise yourself and others

with books as gifts in corners

and between the pillows of the bench

 

books say something you can’t Schermafbeelding 2016-04-18 om 21.42.00

put into words

books that you know

that will always be there

next to your bed

or under it

on the closet

standing on its small edge

facing you

with a different page each day

 

books that you carry

that carry your thoughts

a small book in

a small bag

book size, pocket size

with you

 

FullSizeRender (9)

body books

big books

book hats

big bags

hat books

a book in a hat

a book in a sock

smelling a little of sweat

sock-pockets for books

follow your steps

some say the library is unnecessary

some say it has already gone

words are everywhere

the library

is the world

form your library

from the words in the world

Touching the earth and the sky


Monday, April 18, 2016

 

 

book-in-window2_1100book-in-window2_1100

 

I sat by the bookshelf for less than a few minutes when it caught my eye.

 

Touching the earth and the sky. A small, thin, white book, with only the title on the cover and spine, in simple black type. It was squeezed between two books, towering beside it like skyscrapers, like a small alleyway just off the main road.

 

Somehow this book was meant to be mine for a day. Its small size meant I could easily slip it in my bag, pocket, under my arm, on top of some other books. Its blankness meant it didn’t clash with any of the covers of my other books or objects. A book that could manage to slip in anywhere, unnoticed, and hide comfortably for a while. I placed it on a pile of books I had lying around at home, and it looked like it had been there for years. I put it on the table in the living room with my notebook, so as not to forget to bring it the next morning, and it seemed to curl up its spine and go to sleep. I placed it in my bag and it slipped right under the cover, as if it had done it a thousand times before.

 

What made this book so naturally acceptable to its environment? I thought it was probably that it looked a bit insignificant: the combination of its small, thin shape; the white cover; the simple type. But this insignificance intrigued me. It was almost as if the book worked as a counter-weight: a blank page in all this information that was already surrounding me. Where each book I looked at was pouring out its message to me, this book seemed to suck its message back into itself, hiding it even when opened, and remaining its aura of blissful ignorance. It didn’t matter if I understood the book, if I had read it or knew what it was about, because its attraction was this mystery where I could read all that I wanted into its story.

 

I took the book to a place, and was curious how it would fit into a place that neither I nor it had seen before. I left my bag in a locker so the book travelled with me in my hand, clasped behind my back or dangling from my fingers. It didn’t seem to mind. The cleanness of the space fitted it surprisingly well, and it wasn’t long before it had made it clear to me that it wanted to be put down, in one particular spot by the window. At first, it looked slightly lost and vulnerable on the floor, but the longer I looked away and looked again, the more it blended in and seemed to breathe into its place. It managed to hide from my eyes at times, its reflection suddenly disappearing as I took a step forward, backward, but would suddenly reassure me by popping back into focus. I was losing it to its environment, and at the same time I had never seen it so in its place.

 

The moment came to take it back. I was convinced it would resist my touch, being so perfectly in its place by the window, but no sooner had I picked it up or the book folded into its position in my hand. Just as it had curled up on the table in my living room, now it rested in my palm as we travelled back to the bookshelf where I had first spotted it.

 

The books that had towered by its side before I couldn’t find anymore, the shelves having been rearranged with all the people searching through the library. But I knew now that there was no trouble in finding a new spot for this little book. Placed beside a window, a tower, a roadside or hovering in the sky, it would always manage to reflect its environment and tell the reader exactly what you had always wanted to hear.

 

In my library, you move your way through the books one on one. Each book functions simultaneously as a lock and key. You don’t know the doors it might open when you pick it from its place on the shelf. Even when you’ve skimmed the spine, recognised the author, taken in the title and flicked through its pages, you’re still under a false impression of knowing where the book might lead you. It’s only once you’ve managed to extract it from its place in the library, folded your fingers around the covers, travelled with it for a couple of days, immersed yourself in the letters and forgotten it on the train, that you start to discover what this book holds in store for you. And once the rhythm of opening and closing the story has come to its natural end, the book will lead you back to the library to be found in its new place, closing its door as softly as it opened, and unlocking the way to a new book. Only a system which has no system can enable this experience of true discovery.

 

And then you can touch the earth and the sky.

 

book-in-window1_1100book-in-window1_1100

 

Labeling with some audio


Monday, April 18, 2016