Haunted Bookshelves

2017-on going/ Collective memorizing sessions / Built upon Read-in’s ongoing Bookshelf Research that investigates the physicality of reading through the spatial and behavioral parameters of libraries: public, institutional, private and personal.

Our practice of reading in the margins and between the lines while exhuming fragile omissions considers text fragments as circulating through and with participants and encounters.

During the Haunted Bookshelves sessions with friends and public, we practice choreographies of memorizing. Haunted Bookshelves speaks to the missing pieces from our bookshelves. However, when something is missing, it does not mean that it is not (t)here. We rather refer to what Avery Gordon writes in Ghostly Matters, as:

Haunting as a way in which abusive systems of power make themselves known and their impacts felt in everyday life, especially when they are supposedly over (slavery, for instance), or when the oppressive nature is denied (as in free labour or national security). (..) Indeed it seemed to me that haunting was precisely the domain of turmoil and trouble.

Avery Gordon, 2008:xvi-xvii

[image] Lingering trouble cleaning cloths.

This memorizing practice is not necessarily for accuracy, but to be unsettled by something: a thought, an image, a dream, but on a daily basis. We are somehow looking to raise a specter, have a ghost in our mind. We might consider memorizing as circulating with daily currency – a thing that you come back to, that is sticky. When related to time, it could even be a ritual, something to make time for.

For our current Haunted Bookshelves sessions, we ask each participant to bring a quote for us to collectively memorize. We ask that the quotes relate to the question: Why are the authors of the books I read so white, so male, so Eurocentric?, a question that Read-in recurrently asks in different iterations.

Past sessions:

2018 / 7 January/ Haunted Bookshelves / Read-in at Finissage House of Wisdom: Collectively (Re)shaping the Archive / Public Session at Framer Framed / Collective Çukurcuma / Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons.

2017 / 9 October/ Haunted Bookshelves / Read-in at School for Improper Education (Sekolah Sidik) / Public session at KUNCI Cultural Studies Center, Yogyakarta

2017 / 7 September – 15 October/ Haunted Bookshelves_In Circulation / Read-in at Hauntopia/What if? / Exhibition and Conference at Research Pavillon Venice / PhD-in-practice Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna