Although Price focuses her analysis on readers in Victorian England, I want to consider how books as “brokering” agents function in contemporary installation projects that adapt the structure and trope of the library. For this task, I present two case studies: the works of Christine Hill and Shooshie Sulaiman. These artists’ methods, choice of materials, and geographic centres of activity are radically divergent, and yet both adapt the concept of the library as a social space that encourages engagement from the spectator, including roaming, handling, reading, information gathering, social exchange, and conversation. Using carefully crafted handmade books and appropriated books of diverse origins, Hill and Sulaiman tap into an everyday object that is both familiar in its form and at home in multiple social contexts, making it ideal for individual and collective consumption.
This article also appears in the issue 89 – Library - LibraryDiscover