Heterotopia, Heterodoxy

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In early 2013 as part of his research into libraries and their roles, student Gareth Lindsay temporarily relocated every book he had ever borrowed from Glasgow School of Art Library, bringing them together in a new mini-library of their own. He explains:

Stemming from a continued interest in reading and the book as both a conventional research tool and a discursive medium in its own right, I have sustained a continued interest in the library. My research has relied heavily on the library and its services – first, as an archive of key readings related to my interests, secondly in terms of the physical space and procedures associated with it.

As part of my continued research into this area, I wish to propose a temporary relocation of the books constituting my entire library lending history from my time at GSA to one site within the library. By condensing my library timeline into such a setting, I hope to benefit from an overview of these formerly disparate texts in a way that had not previously been possible. It is hoped that this temporary sub-collection of books will also trigger interest from other library users, perhaps starting a dialogue among people with shared interests.

This intervention has been conceived in respect to Michael Foucault’s idea of Heterotopia (as distinct from the placeless Utopia). Meaning (in the case of the library) a real, physical space, ‘a place of all times that is itself out of time, and inaccessible to its ravages’ (Of Other Spaces, 1967). This paradoxical notion subsumes within it the tensions of public and the private, of work and leisure inherent in this environment, and positions the library as a place where these paradoxes can exist alongside each other.

The project is also influenced by radical libraries such as The Reanimation Library, and thinking about how I can draw from both of these sources to position the project within an institutional context, through close collaboration with library staff.

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