Bookshelf Research #1



Bookshelf Research consists of a counting exercise for specific private or public libraries and bookshelves according to categories such as gender, nationality, materiality, resulting in a statistical breakdown of inclusions and omissions. It conjures the work of Guerrilla Girls, an anonymous group of feminist, female artists fighting sexism and racism within the art world by e.g. statistical breakdowns of artists participation in exhibitions. Read-in embraces this approach and introduces it into everybody’s home and bookshelf. Read-in deploys this ‘strategic essentialism’ as a means to investigate the ways how the books that we read and bookshelves that surround us are interwoven with the fabric of our thoughts and our everyday life. ‘Strategic essentialism’ is a concept that is coined by post-colonial and feminist literary scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. It acknowledges the problematics of essentialism at play in identity claims such as nationality, gender, ect. while temporarily endorsing these essentialisms to enable political agency and consolidate resistance. In this case Read-in is particularly interested in countering the open secret of the hierarchies of knowledges that inhabit our bookshelves and reading practices.


Bookshelf Research in Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2012.
“BookshelfResearch”, printed matter, as part of the exhibition ‘The Grand Domestic

Revolution – GOES ON’ at CAREOF, curated by Martina Angelotti

and Silvia Simoncelli, Milan, 2015.