Q: Are the movements/gestures important in reflecting on libraries?

I find I have come a full circle in thinking about movement in response to words since first dreaming up the lost library project (in 2015, which coincides with the inception of the Bathing In Ignorance series of paintings) – back then I was thinking of dancers responding to the texts within the library, a turning the text into physical movements and now I am responding through movement, if requested to on the registration form.

In The Lost Library I am mute, new members fill in a registration form, they get a membership card and a word from me.  The registration form has space for them to list words that resonate with them and to ask me a question.  They can opt for me to answer in a movement &/or in a new blog post.  (For the question at the top only a gesture was requested, but it’s an excellent question, so here it is!)

The movements I am using in response to the questions are an intuitive, unfurling response to written words, in a similar way to how I responded to individual words in the 254 paintings in my Bathing In Ignorance series.  Doing something social and communicative is important in reflecting on how our society is functioning, rather than leaping straight into solutions.  The allowing time for as many people to be involved in the thinking about things, not just the debate is important, as a collective stepping back.

Reading benefits me personally and furthers my own understanding of the world, but what is the use of this if I don’t do anything with what I’ve picked up?

I’m interested in how a particular place, the landscape and the people in it, influences the gestures and the words we each use?  And, if there is a strong influence – how do we find our individual voices with all this exterior pressure going on?  How to resist being persuaded by vocal individual of this and of that?

The only way I know of finding my voice is by talking, writing, moving and doing, even, and especially when I’m uncertain.  Certainty has no place here.

I have many questions I’m trying to find answers to in relation to The Lost Library and I know there is a really important underlying question, much more specific than I’ve formulated so far, question improvement in progress!



Preparations for The Lost Library at The Wrexham Open.

Questions I’m considering:

Dwindling libraries – what is being done around the UK and to what effect?

How do and how can libraries can best support communities?

What is now essential in a library?

Does free access to text enhance social cohesion?

Do very well read individuals benefit communities (and which communities?)

Collecting and collections, in particular words, lexicons, dictionaries.

Communicating and connecting in a multi-lingual society.

The landscape of a place affecting communication – on writing.
Over the past week I’ve had two rehearsals of The Lost Library where I performed a joining ritual with people, whilst mute, participants completed a registration form, asked me a question on the form which I responded through a gesture or bodily movement, received a library card and one word.

The Librarian character – so far I’ve played a stock broker, myself and pushed that through being mute throughout rehearsals (and previously at Deptford X Fringe – being mute for 6 hours) , but I now find the lost librarians character is that of a warrior, who is fighting to connect with people and place through a living archive (the lost library word collection of that place).

The word collecting activity I originally came up with – asking people for stories about Wrexham – has proved too arbitrary – so last week I asked new members to put their favourite word on the form – but it is still not right.

I am pondering instead using one of the words from my word collection (currently has 14* words) as the starting point of the Wrexham collection.  Where participants join the library, receive a card and a word, fill in the form and we talk whilst harvesting honesty seeds.

There’s actually not too much pondering to do, I’ve worked with honesty now twice before in performance, most recently at a car boot sale and before that at a business networking breakfast.

Collecting words while also collecting seeds would have a less formal feel to it – and the words collected would have been thought about for a little longer, in a relaxed setting and so more meaningful to the individual.    Allowing a stepping back.  When I am mute and awaiting people to fill in a form I find it’s all a bit formal and far too much like an exam, with a strange pressure, which is not my intention. I don’t need to put others on the spot like that – it’s not helpful in gathering words that actually mean something to them.

This word collecting session/s would be a workshop, I have two appearances in each of Ty Pawb (was Oriel Wrexham) and UnDegUn – the first appearances being harvesting and word gathering and the next sessions being The Lost Library appearances using the words generated in those sessions.

Join here and grow the Lost Library Wrexham word collection with me.

*tribal, celticity, honesty, atmosphere, equinox, pentre, voice, land, myth, vital, botanical, posting, clarity.

Honesty harvesting video:   https://vimeo.com/wynnepaton/review/295257256/c84e39427f