The Reading Room 2011
Our books will bear witness for or against us, our books reflect who we are and who we have been, our books hold the share of pages granted to us from the Book of Life. By the books we call ours we will be judged.
Alberto Manguel, The library at night.
The Reading Room was an immersive, interactive environment about the magic world of books and reading. The gallery walls were painted red and lined with around 30,000 books. There were comfortable chairs and couches where you could sit back and listen to over 100 people from all walks of life in Tasmania reading a passage from one of their favourite books, or you could pick up a book and start reading yourself. On the walls of the room, hovering above the thousands of books, was an ancient, Hermetic phrase spelled out with convex mirrors. It read: 'AS IT IS BELOW, SO IT IS ABOVE'.
Solo exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 23 July - 16 October 2011
30,000 discarded books, furniture, reading lamps, carpets, single channel video featuring 100 readers.
Camera, Sound & Post Production
IT Installation and time-lapse movie
Brian Martin, TMAG
Darren Cook, Kim Portlock, Ingrida Hawke, Mike Singe, John Smith, Garry, Eagle, Mark and other TMAG staff!
University of Tasmania Library
Rotary, Bellerive Branch, via Terry Lobban
Philipa Foster, Jenny Jackson
with special thanks to
Detached Cultural Organisation
Bryony Nainby, Bec Tudor and Jane Stewart
The Reading Room was part of Star/Dust, a year-long series of contemporary art experiences presented with the support of Detached Cultural Organisation. It coincided with Children's Book Week and the City of Hobart Art Prize in 2011.
On the final two days of The Reading Room, members of the public could select and take away books that made up the installation for a gold coin donation per book. Hundreds of people took up the offer and THE READING ROOM transformed into a giant book stall. We raised over $2,000, with the proceeds going to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
The making of The Reading Room, timelapse by Brian Martin
An interview about The Reading Room
Downloads & Links
Artworks ABC Radio National interview.
Books and Art Daily interview on ABC Radio National with Michael Cathcart and Cate Kennedy.