Posts Tagged ‘Library’


00.52AM on Saturday morning. I have no idea how i’m writing this post right now as I have just completed my 24 hour performance in the library. I’m experiencing more pain than I would’ve imagined I could feel, this could be the dramatic side of me coming out, or I genuinely have completed something quite marvellous. My body feels like it’s been in a battle with a raging dragon that has set me on fire a few times and I’ve tried everything in grasp to fight it off and I succeeded, now that could be my nerd side coming out. I don’t think i’ll be rushing to do something like this again in a while, but I would definitely do it again, in a different context.

Posted: May 10th, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Images were first made to conjure up the appearance of something that was absent.

“We never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves.”1 I have found recently that I am being influenced by the way Berger attempts to view art. He allows us to see things differently to how they are and also how they can relate to ourselves. It then makes me ask the question: Do we see things differently to others because of how we interpret what we see? I like this because the question does not need an answer but merely an experiment of some sort.

We are taking this notion of human identity and how everything and everyone in the library, on one day, will have an identity that is usually lost within the library. In a basic sum up, we want to humanize the library. How do we make something build from brick and lifeless material, human? Simply by making it seen. “The eye of the other combines our own eye to make it fully credible that we are part of the visual world.”2 We don’t intend for the library to sprout legs and start physically coming to life, but we are however attempting to give the building an identity, a meaning and a purpose.

So how does this make the library human? We are showing that for one day, everything both in the library and about the library will be remembered. That one day will make the library come alive and remain alive in the form of a ‘book’ that will be written by ourselves the very same day. Everyone who walks into the library, will come out as a human but in a different way to normal, in a way they the library is what made them human rather than them becoming human upon leaving the library.

On the night of our performance we will be using projections and sound and headsets and all sorts of technology to make this happen. It is still under development but the team and I are in full swing. Operation, make that library human.

  1. Berger, J (1972) Ways Of Seeing, p. 9, Great Britain: British Broadcasting corporation []
  2. Berger, J (1972) Ways Of Seeing, p. 9, Great Britain: British Broadcasting corporation []
Posted: March 5th, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words, Library, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

Art is not what you see, but how you see it.

John Berger in his book Ways of Seeing suggests that “the way we see things is determined by what we know”1. and I couldn’t help but relate this to the video we were shown recently about Marina Abramović and her art. Marina is a very different artist to what I have experienced before and in all honesty, I was a bit taken back by what I was watching. The way she presents her art is very extreme and in some cases, uncomfortable for those watching her. Her performance art challenges ‘limits of sensorial, physical, and psychological experience’2 through a vast range of styles.

“What I learned was that… if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.” … “I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.”3

In another interview with Marina Abramović she states:

“I test the limits of myself in order to transform myself, but I also take the energy from the audience and transform it. It goes back to them in a different way. This is why people in the audience often cry or become angry or whatever. A powerful performance will transform everyone in the room.”4

Of course our performance in the Library will be of no relation to the extremity of Marina’s work however her ideas are inspirational to young performers all around the world. She carries a message with every performance she does which always has such a big impact on the audience and sometimes without them fully understanding why. A good performance should have a good audience and performer relationship but how this is established is entirely down the the performer/s. Abramović, in most of her performances has the ability to close herself off and allow herself to become one with her performance space. I feel this element of her performance is one I can take for mine. If I am to recreate the idea of the human librarian I want to take away the aspect of confining myself to the performance space. Before this, I have to develop what my performance space will be.

I have attached a short video with this piece of writing for anyone who wishes to explore Marina’s work or would like to see and example. Some may not entirely understand it but for some, it may encourage them to want to understand it. As I have said previously, I had not experienced or come across Marina Abramović before our seminar however now I can’t stop exploring her work and her history. Her work is not for the faint hearted however it is very interesting for those willing to let themselves get into it.

  1. Berger, John, (1972) Ways Of Seeing, London: British Broadcasting cooperation and Penguin Books []
  2. Fisher, Jennifer (2012)  Proprioceptive Friction Waiting in Line to Sit with Marina Abramovic, The Senses and Society, 7, 2, pp. 153 – 157 []
  3. Daneri, Anna et al (2002), Marina Abramović, London: Edizioni Charta Srl []
  4. O’Hagen, (2010) The Guardian/ The Observer, Online: (Accessed 19th February 2013 []
  5. Anon, (2007), Marina Abramović – Rhythm 10 (“The Star”, 1999) Online: (Accessed 19th February 2013 []

Can You See Me Now?

From the ideas I’d already started to develop I was able to get a group of people on board to test some ideas out with me. My starting point has been to focus on being seen and the extremes we would have to go for the public to acknowledge us. To go further than this I also want to play around with the idea of the human librarian and the unreadable book and combining both I have created a starting point for experimentation. Referring back to Borges and the history of the library “it is true that the most ancient men, the first librarians, used a language quite different from the one we now speak”1 and to me this says that history plays an important part in my idea as we can present how language in todays time is so altered and so often used in comparison to the Library of Babel and how they only had twenty -three letters so to speak, excuse the pun, language was not so easily understood, even when written.


Abigail Perry, 07/02/2013


Abigail Perry, 07/02/2013


Abigail Perry, 07/02/2013

This experiment was good as a starter however I feel it lacked something and we could have done a lot more to play around with my ideas. We still have a long time before any solid ideas need to be down but I want to be as prepared as I can. Instead of holding plaque cards could we just instead be ourselves and try to watch everyone in the library, watching their body language, their actions, the conversations they have with one another. Effectively I want to be able to create a book, a book that is unreadable to most but understood by it’s writer/s because “In the vast Library there are no two identical books”2 and we could create a book that is impossible to copy. Would it be possible to create a diary or a log of every person that comes into the library and could there be people appointed around as ‘listeners’ almost ‘spying’ on everyone and see how they use the library.

  1. Borges, J. L (2000) TheLibrary of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
  2. Borges, J. L (2000) The Library of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
Posted: February 7th, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words, Borges, Early Research, Library
Tags: , ,
Comments: No Comments.

You say jump. I say how high?

A violation of space can lead people to react in numerous ways and what we achieved today was to test how far we could go in a place where anything theatrical could almost be a taboo. Today we were each given a set of headphones and through them we received specific instructions varying from subtle to obvious. Walking around the library attempting to appear like a typical library student was hard when you were expecting an instruction at any moment, and not knowing what it would be, was almost a rush of willingness to do anything.

Abigail Perry, 31/01/2013

This activity enabled us to forget about the people around us but to instead focus on the space. To inhabit it in a spontaneous and creative way. The reason this is so beneficial to us is due to it’s ‘out there’ style and how we can become so unaware of the real world and simply become absorbed in this new world where we are the people in charge, we can do anything, regardless of what reactions we receive from the public.

As I walked I observed many of the students sitting at computers either working quietly or making idle chit chat to friends or nearby students. I felt like an intruder, like everyone in the library meant to be there where as I was simply there for a complete opposite reason however it is this very part of the task that I liked, being an intruder although the public were aware of me, how could I do this again without being seen or heard, what if I was hidden without hiding?

As Borges himself writes “Man, the imperfect librarian”1 and that we are all librarians of the library. I like to think there is another meaning to the word ‘librarian’, maybe that they can see everything, hear everything and know everything. If the library of Babel is infinite then the knowledge of the librarian is infinite. The library of Babel was filled with “inexhaustible stairways for the traveller and latrines for the seated librarian”2 and from this I am able to get an idea of making the librarian a physical being. If the librarian is ‘man’ and is omniscient (all – knowing) then how could this be presented. The idea I would like to follow is to focus on this librarian and the idea of his intrusion in the library. Reflecting back to my last post I am also curious as to whether I can combine my ideas of recreating an unreadable book with my development into the human librarian.

  1. Borges, J. L (2000) The Library of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
  2. Borges, J. L (2000) The Library of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
Posted: January 31st, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words, Borges, Early Research, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.
© 2018 Babel. Hosted by University of Lincoln Blogs.