Reading Through Glass

Reading Through Glass - an installation piece with accompanying bookwork at our interim MA show, 0.34 miles (0.54 km) that is on until 21st June 2012.

Reading Through Glass came about from mostly from my current MA research, but also from the opportunity to display in an old museum vitrine. The site, that is the inside of the glass cabinet, influenced the content of the installation and made me think about the parallels between my interest in how we, in today's society, interact with much of our text and knowledge through 'screen reading' and reading through glass in museums, galleries and libraries, and what that might mean for displaying text-heavy work like my recent pieces.

This exhibition was also an opportunity to test out a way of displaying research as work which I have begun to think about in my practice more and more. I started to play with elements of my MA essay, using it visually by layering pages of text with other elements of research and photocopying them together to create documents that are then displayed as artefact in the pseudo-museum-case installation. 

The text from the essay as well as the information panel, featured above, revolves around my research on Bob Brown and his Reading Machine. The abstract from my essay may give a clearer idea of the content and context of the work: 

Bob Brown imagined an escape from the page; the restrictive nature of the
form of the 'antiquated book' following into new forms of technology and
machine reading. This investigation functions as an inquiry into the idea of the
reader as machine; in Bob Brown's printed experiments in optical reading, does
the reader become the imagined reading machine?

In writing for the imagined machine, and in using the page and its
restrictions Brown was able to imagine these ideas and new ways of reading.
Punctuation and page layout were devices used by Bob Brown and the poets
involved with The Readies for Bob Brown's Machine, The Readies, and Words to
represent the movement and speed of a new form of reading through an
imagined machine. This essay argues that they actually force the reader
themselves into becoming the reading machine perhaps without losing their
humanity and without the need for the machine itself.
The concepts contained within the writing, and the aspects of optical text
design, challenges the page and the way we read, within all three books, and
allows the machine to come alive within the text itself and so within the reader.

 I think that it is safe to say that had I had longer with the vitrine before and during the making of the work it would have ended up a different and probably more successful installation. As it is, I was pushed for time and had little time to really experiment with installing in the actual case itself.  Ideas for changes did occur to me during installation but I had no time to act on them; this in itself is a useful lesson learnt for future site orientated installations of work.

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