In 2013, Joe Hancock staged an intervention into the Library’s catalogue by creating, in conjunction with Library staff, a bibliographic record for an imagined artist’s book. Although the book itself does not exist, it is catalogued to suggest that it exists as a concrete entity, including a barcode and shelfmark location. Joe describes it thus:

Thank you for reading this book (which you have just done). Searching for, discovering while browsing or by chance the catalogue entry for Cataphote is to have read Cataphote. Accessing the catalogue entry constitutes the act of having read the book as a whole – a wordless, formless book with no pages. Cataphote is loaned to you so long as you are looking at the catalogue entry. The binding is your gaze. Close your eyes, look away, leave this page, and you have returned the book. There is no limit to how many times it can be borrowed and returned. It is a non-object, and exists only as catalogue entries in the artist’s book collections of three libraries: Leeds College of Art; Glasgow School of Art; School of the Art Institute in Chicago. The author also keeps his own proof copy in mind, for reference. This book exists definitively where you are now. Reading Cataphote is to experience Cataphote, and naturally, experiencing Cataphote is to read Cataphote. Cataphote or Beauty Is In the I of the Beholder relocates the point of reading away from the page, and instead places it within your consciousness as a phenomenological and ephemeral experience. All books could be considered experiential lenses, focussing and altering the path of the contents as they transmit from author to reader. You looked at it. It reflected your attention, like a cat’s eye – a retroreflector, or cataphote – bouncing light back at the same angle it was received.

View Cataphote here:

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