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BIBLIOLOGY and BookCrossing at Golden Lane Estate

by photokf
March 11, 2010
The first BookCrossing event at EXHIBIT Gallery, 20 Goswell Road, Golden Lane Estate, London EC1, took place on 6th March 2010. (www.exhibit-goldenlane.com)

The 9 houses of Golden Lane Estate were built between 1957-1962 and now house approximately 1,200 people in 559 flats. For the last 6 months, artist Kathryn Faulkner has been visiting residents and photographing how they live with books. This work extends her interest in reading and the book as object and she has delighted in meeting such a variety of book lovers on the estate.

Visit www.kathrynfaulkner.com --> recent work --> BIBLIOLOGY to see a selection of photographs from the project.

On 6th March between 2 - 3.30pm we released 42 new Penguin books as part of the BIBLIOLOGY exhibition at EXHIBIT. These new books were ’crossed’ with books brought in by 36 participants and released into the wilds of Golden Lane Estate. Luckily it was a sunny, if chilly day, and by the next morning all but one of the books had been caught and that was a little hidden under some steps, so had probably been overlooked.

It was a lovely, friendly event and people came from near and far to contribute enthusiastically to the BookCrossing. One dedicated Book-crosser travelled down from Oxford especially and was a helpful presence during the afternoon. Over tea and biscuits there were many passionate conversations about favourite books and why they had chosen the book they had brought in to cross. There were some notable coincidences – two copies of Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running were swapped in the hope of inspiring other would-be runners to go for it, and someone was very pleased to acquire his 5th copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as he had given away the others to friends because he loved the novel so much. And people seemed to find exactly the right Great Ideas Penguin, whether for themselves or to pass on to someone close to them. For example George Orwell’s Why I Write was pertinent reading for a friends young journalist daughter, and the Writings from the Zen Masters found a perfect temporary home with a pinhole photographer of great spirit.

Many new BookCrossers were inspired by this activity and enjoyed the opportunity to wander through the classic Modernist architecture of this very special estate looking for places to release their books. The onward journeys of these books may become quite international as a few people spoke about sending their new book off to relatives or friends in Spain, America and Australia. One person said that they would take it on holiday to Bermuda and read and release, so we look forward to tracking their journeys in the future.

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