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Another way of reading [2014]

Six panel film script, original panels with fittings designed by Basil Spence; Live readings on library public announcement system

Another way of reading is the title for research undertaken during a residency at Swiss Cottage Library that 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' [1971], 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 Zabludowicz Collection, Allora & Calzadilla’s single channel film 'How to Appear Invisible' [2009].

The residency culminated in a six-panel speculative film script, that combined archival documents with new material, including 35mm photographs created during the 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 building, 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.

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 restored 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'.

Images. Installation views and details, Swiss Cottage Library, London [photographs: Ollie Hammick/Limner Studio] including Derek Jarman, 'Plague Street' [1971], and 35mm photographs.

 
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