2018 - Ongoing
Working in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, one morning these pieces of foam in multiple shades of grey and varying sizes caught my eye. Unbound and a-systematic, the utilitarian poly foam book supports invited an opportunity to form and reform, an infinite possibility of architectural shapes and combinations.
As I saw them sitting on the desks I was reminded of Paul Valery’s idea of the ‘active presence of absent things,' and I saw in these simple structures an opportunity to reflect on the very object missing — the book — and to consider the physical shape of its past and the increasingly ‘immaterial’ form it may take in the future. This journey paralleling the medium of photography’s own journey too, where photographers grapple with what has been gained and what has been displaced through this advancement. So, these images stand to invite consideration of how knowledge is held and viewed today as it becomes increasingly accessed via digital screens bringing to attention the notions of the forever and the now.
With its Minimalist aesthetic, to me this work represents an important counterpoint to the ways in which information is now digitally communicated and consumed. The concentration on the physical forms of the supports used for the display of rare books, implies a reverence for the book at the time of its feared obsolescence.