We interrupt this catalogue of grief with a foray into a different kind of underworld and a conversation with a stranger.
Entering the underpass from Flinders Street, two besuited
30-somethings rushed past, animated, slightly mocking, speaking sentences with
capitals and exclamation marks.
I guessed that meant there was something happening in the vitrine.
And also guessed these guys weren’t art goers.
In the few seconds it took for me to descend and the
hapless blokes to ascend, I knew I was in for a treat.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
In the beautiful curved corner display case, at the Platform
Contemporary Art Space that doubles as a commuter underpass, sat a woman
reading a book in a beautifully constructed installation.
Used books line a shelf, clear plastic toothbrushes
twinkle like a deconstructed chandelier, a classic green library lamp glows warmly and modern construction materials lurk beneath a veneer of exquisite mock parquetry.
The Future Library Service is open and the
librarian is in.
After a lovely chat with the artist, Sonja Hornung, the
intent behind the piece opened before me. The accompanying website goes way
beyond the usual artist statement. While The Future Library Service is a
collection of 100 books about the future from the past, the intricately
documented digital catalogue is also a joy to explore.
The cataloguing is a librarian’s wet dream, with extensive
annotations and a numbering system that goes way beyond Dewey’s wildest
your call-number system work?
The books are physically ordered on the basis of how yellow their pages
are, beginning with very white and moving through to very yellow. They are then
allocated a call number beginning with the Dewey Decimal prefix 125. Formally,
this number is now unassigned, but used to be assigned to books catalogued under
The books are also available for loan.
Don’t be intimidated. The exhibition is only on until the 29th
in, this may be your last chance to borrow a book, with a stamp instead of a beep.
Explore the Future Library Service.
Labels: art, catalogue, Dewey decimal, future library service, installation, melbourne, Platform, Sonja Hornung, underworld