Marina assigned us an hour-long in class exercise to be completed in pairs at the Bobst Library. The prompt was to create a set of instructions for someone to intervene with library.
Here is Marina’s Brief:
Instruction Set for Strangers or. How to Re-use the Library
Groups of 2.
make a walking tour or instruction set.
It must have at least 3 features, stops or instructions.
Do not alter the space in any way. All alterations should exist solely in your instructions.
These could include
- reconfiguring the expectations of the space
- redefining the meanings of the space(s)
- redefining the uses of the space(s)
- reassigning aspects of the space to the imaginary
You could alter the space
- by altering the participants’ physical movement
- by leveraging specific sensory perceptions (sound, touch, sight, smell) or through the deprivations of these
- by shifting the code, and guiding a participant’s facilities at interpretation
I worked with Chien-Yu to come up with a set of instructions for the library. Our process was pretty open, we wandered around, moving up the floors, finding vistas, entering different spaces to see what the mood felt like in each of them. On the way, we stumbled up on the East Asian Studies area and she showed me this amazing scroll painting that she recognized. We ended up with two sets of instructions. One is much more about the space of the library, and the other is about the social aspect.
Here are the instructions we made:
Instructions for Bobst Library
by Chien Yu and Genevieve
1. Find an area of stacks on any floor of the library that appeals to you.
2. Go to the first shelf in the stack.
3. Find a book that draws your attention.
4. Remove that book, and the three or four books around it. Place them nearby on the shelf, preferably on the other side of some bookends.
5. Look through the hole you made.
6. Go to the other side of the stack, and repeat the process on the other side of the hole.
7. Continue this process as long as you wish.
8. Observe the space and other people through this little frame.
1. Find an empty seat which is occupied by someone’s belongings.
2. Write a little note to them.
3. Place it on the seat.
We came up with the first set of instructions by experimenting with the books in the stacks. We thought it was interesting how you could catch glimpses of people when you peered through the open spaces around the books. We wanted to try to see if we could create a sightline across many stacks, so that you had a little tunnel of vision through the books.