As mentioned in my last blog post, our last Foundations project involved the making of an installation piece concerning a building on campus. Today, we had the privilege of sharing these installations with one another, and then getting partnered with a classmate to further discuss their thought process/building/final installation/etc.
I personally got to work with Sara Scholl (for those who don’t know, she’s awesome), and learn more about her cardboard bookshelf-replica.
At a glance, her piece seems straightforward. Bookshelf about one meter high, one row of shelving empty, another half-empty. A book atop the shelf opened just slightly, for intrigue. It’s one of those pieces where so much time has been put in that to a viewer, it appears effortlessly elegant and complete.
However, after discussing the shelf with Sara, I learned that much more thought went into the creation of the installation. First of all, I had not even stopped to consider that cardboard is light, while actual books are HEAVY, and somehow, she got those cardboard shelves to hold up all of her books. Additionally, she said that she wanted the piece to be interactive, so I began to investigate each book individually, finding that some had been glued shut, others left open. This brought up the question of whether it matters that a book has anything in it at all, especially in a library that’s full of books in a digital age (side note–all of the books in her display were taken from the “free book” table in Herrick’s basement). The book perched above the shelves had been entirely transformed within; paint, charcoal, and pen filled certain pages, while others had been ripped out altogether. Sara said this was meant as a more playful form of trickery–we choose books based on their titles, covers, authors, etc., but in this installation, none of that information can prepare us for what we find inside.
The final detail on Sara’s piece was a replica of the electronic moving buttons that can be found on the shelves in Herrick’s basement shelving units. She included these because the moving shelves–which can be sandwiched against one another–have the ability to entirely conceal books from the viewer/reader. As she told me today, “if you open the shelf, you can either read, or learn.”
(Sara, majestic as always, with her masterpiece of cardboard and stolen literature).