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Another way of reading (2014)

Another way of reading is the umbrella title for research undertaken during a six week residency at Swiss Cottage Library. The residency was curated by Kelly Large at Zabludowicz Collection, London, and coincided with the 50th anniversary of the library, a Grade II listed building designed by Sir Basil Spence and opened in 1964.

The initial context stemmed from an invitation to select two works from the two host collections, exhibited as a pair in the library gallery: from the Camden Art Collection, Derek Jarman’s pen and ink drawing Plague Street (1972), that my research speculates may have been a preparatory drawing for Jarman’s set designs for Ken Russell’s film The Devils (1971); and from the Zabludowicz Collection, Allora & Calzadilla’s single channel film How to Appear Invisible (2009).

Another way of reading borrows its title from a collaborative photo-essay book by John Berger and Jean Mohr, Another way of telling (1982), which considers the relationship between text and image. The residency culminated in a six-panel speculative film script, that drew on this interchange between written and visual languages, and combined archival documents with new material, including 35mm photographs created during my research. Within the pages of the script, fictional characters - including a Witness, Alchemists, Geologists, Scribes, Readers, and Prophets in orbit (cast as Derek Jarman and Sir Basil Spence) - formed through encounters with library users and staff, as well as conversations with an architect, a lip-reader and an astrologer, suggest alternative ways of interpreting the architecture of Swiss Cottage Library. Various forms of knowledge are proposed through which to reimagine the building, as a book to be read. The pages include astrological ‘natal’ charts produced for the buildings - envisaged as Telepathic Materials - an aerial drawing of Sir Basil Spence’s original plan for Hampstead Civic Centre, and re-worked excerpts from the 1964 design specifications for the library and its book classification systems. It concludes with a proposal for a film to be generated and shown in the cinema on the top floor of Holborn Library, where Camden's archives are also held.

PROPHET II:

The script in fact already exists. It sits on a shelf in yet another Book. This other Book, a Cinema, slowly revealing itself in its de-construction

The script was shown in the library atrium, alongside reading materials drawn from the archives and special collections. It was realised for the original display system developed by Sir Basil Spence, with a number of panels rehabilitated specifically for the residency exhibition. The project was also made public through a series of events staged at both sites, including a film screening, talks, and live readings with Joyce Cronin, using the public announcement system as an extension of the CATALOG monthly online image-broadcast __We interrupt this transmission__.

FOOTNOTES

Another way of reading (2014), six-week residency at Swiss Cottage Library between April - May 2014. It was a partnership project between the London Borough of Camden and the Zabludowicz Collection, curated by Kelly Large. Images 1-3, 35mm stills and research photocopy. Photographs: Frances Scott. Image 6, script excerpt. Images 4, 5, 7-11, installation views, Swiss Cottage Library, London, 2014 including Derek Jarman, Plague Street (1972). Photographs: Ollie Hammick/Limner Studio. Image 12, Allora & Calzadilla, How to Appear Invisible (2009), film still.

 
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