This exhibition happened in the Hard to Find Bookshop from 25 June – 25 July 2014 and the work itself had to be found amongst the confusion and chaos of the overflowing shelves and the myriads of tacked up notices on the walls.
The store itself is a fascinating place and Alexa Mickell, Justine Giles and I lost our work within the madness.
The very concept of finding requires that something must at first be lost, left behind or forgotten, temporarily elsewhere until it is once again called into the spotlight in the excitement of its having been found.
A second-hand bookstore is a temporal holding space, a halfway house for words waiting to complete their promised transaction from person to person. A bookstore like this one is a magical elsewhere for ideas, until they are rediscovered and passed on once again.
The road to rediscovery is often serendipitous, a consequence of a strange journey that leads from this to that. Surrendering to the search means opening up to the possibility of the unexpected
Notes (From notebooks 2012 to present)
(Paper roll, typewriter ink, Olivetti typewriter)
There was a desk in the music room of the shop and this was where I placed this work and left it unrolled, spilling out over the floor still in its typewriter. The way I had dealt with the time based making of this work was to listen to favourite albums, familiar enough to float into the background and not interfere with my typing. I actually like this work better as a roll that denies full access to the text. The people who did read the whole thing said they found it very interesting but, I kinda think this installation is a little gimmicky now. Perhaps too staged, maybe if I had done the typing in the shop and actually used the desk but like this it felt a little too staged.
Motivation Collection “**$1 NO RES**” Anthony Robbins Motivation collection, never been used, still in the wrapper. possibly a collectors dream Listing #726908989
(set of compact discs, shrink-wrap)
Tucked into a shelf in the travel section I placed these beautiful CDs. I put them in this section because it felt like if I were to listen to them they would take me on a personal journey, possibly towards some kind of escape.
While I kept to the shelving etiquette and placed this object in M as fitting with my surname, I then had fun messing up the M section so I could have titles that reflected personal emotional journeys and indicated crisis. Over the course of the exhibition the surrounding books changed continuously and whenever I visited I could set up little narratives in the surrounding books. I’m not actually sure if anyone noticed, I wish I had documented it. I think this was my most successful work in the exhibition, many viewers never found it, customers tried to buy it without realising it was art and narratives were made and lost around it.
I initially used this work because I liked the story of having bothered to find and buy a set of motivational CDs and then never having the motivation to listen to them. I was also thinking of them like a talisman, like an object that didn’t need to be used or listened to, but that just in possessing them you would gain personal power. Compressed time and compressed knowledge in a colourful shiny object.
Also, really great titles.
Lastly tacked up in the science section was my last work, a group of three images that became four when I put them up.
Sky-Fluffy-Clouds.Jpg (with Bill Bryson)
(coloured pencil on paper, e-book screenshots, Hahnemühle photo rag)
This little drawing I tacked up on the roof with all their other posters. To view the work
the viewer had to look up at the clouds and shield their eyes against the light and the heat of a light-bulb. I liked the mimicry of nature here, not only in my placement of the drawing but also in that the drawing was taken from something I found online and was photo-shopped to begin with. I left it the same size as it showed up on Google search.
The (with Bill Bryson) bit
These were two screenshots from Bill Bryson’s A short history of nearly everything. This particular section captured my attention and I found myself pondering it repeatedly and telling all my friends about it. I felt that it deserved to be made important, valuable, so I took and printed them expensively on fancy photo paper. The cheap and digital became valuable and solid, I then confused their importance when I tacked them up with drawing pins to match everything else. Confusing. And I wasn’t really happy with it until I read the note above and found something else that I considered valuable just blue-tacked up.
This little gem.
I love this so much, it smacks of somebody’s history, but at the same time says nothing really, it is up to the viewer to create a narrative. I wish I had made it. I wish I had put it up. I wish I had stolen it.
(in case you want to read the Bill Bryson pages, click on these to bring them up larger)
Reflections on this show:
I think I could have pushed further, the CDs were good because they actually interacted with the space around them, they intervened with the idea of a bookshop, of purchase. The others, while they have merit were works that fitted in with the general idea but the CDs were more alive, more conceptual than the others, real objects in real places and it worked.
Perhaps the other work could have been more successful if I had shown them differently, if I had thought about them harder and not just been caught up in the aesthetics of them. The Notes became more successful in a way when rolled up and unreadable and the Brysons are better in heavy frames. They just weren’t thought through enough.
Justine Giles posted a beautiful blog on the exhibition here Rhubarb Pyjamas