Bath's Annual Fringe Visual Arts Festival
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Lost Library

What happens when text is transformed into movement?

Bringing the figures associated with library use in the UK to life through a performance-installation.

Using figures obtained from CIPFA, we’ll be mixing up visual signals from financial trading floors with actual library-use statistics.

Format: A one day public performance echoing the format of a 1970’s stock exchange by using a hexagonal noticeboard with figures on library use being manually updated by performers in suits, with the audience joining in as desired. The journey of the figures to the boards is the open to interpretation by each participant, the key quality is haste in updating the boards.

The performance will be an experiment to fully update the boards with the library use data, creating a buzz of activity.

Curated by Catherine Wynne-Paton

Venue: performances on the streets of Bath and at FaB 1, 15 New Bond St, BA1 1BA
Open 10am to 6pm - Sat 27 May to Sat 10 June
and 10am to 3pm Sun 11 June


Performance times at FaB1 location at 15 New Bond St, BATH.

Performance times:

Fri 26th May 6-8pm
Sat 27th May 11-5pm
Sat 3 Jun 11-5pm


A transformation?

Considering the change from Librarian to Stock broker and along with the happenstance that I’m going to have my hair cut very soon from long to short has got me thinking about the possibility of making this transformation into part of the performance.  (Once anyway!)

26-27th May and 3-4th June being the weekends I’m pencilled in to perform.  It would involve a hairdresser / barber doing the cut as part of the performance in this case.  A slight complication is that I’ll be selling my hair to fund this and perhaps future performances, depending on its value. 

My experience of local librarians is warm and approachable character, often in colourful outfits, neat / styled hair and make-up.

This could play on the words of the title of ‘Lost Library’ – a librarian lost through a career change into finance…

Watch this space!


The Board at the Toronto stock exchange, 1910.

The original starting point of this performance was to echo the London Stock exchange using library statistics.  I have recently found this from 1910 - selling stocks of cobalts and porcupines, the porcupines seems surreal!

I've recently watched the film Fahrenheit 451 - set in a society where books are outlawed and 'firemen' burn any that are found.  451 supposedly the temperature at which books burn.  And there is a 'book people' camp out of town where a group of people live, each being a book - they can recall a whole novel from memory.  It being illegal to own books, yet holding one in memory is outside that law.

Television aerials feature in the opening credits, tv being an anaesthetic and perhaps shown as filling the void left by books.

In Bath - my next task is to set up the scene, this is likely to be somewhere like Kingsmead Square, tbc.

Go for a 1910 look costume and display board or old display board and modern Trader garb?

(A modern display board lacks the chalking up figures element)

The thought of already mixing up visual signals means that it'll be messy as it is.

To simplify or not to simplify the scene, that's the question!


This piece moves on from the Eisteddfod performance (see video link in earlier post) – with that piece I had many different things going on at once.

Elements of the Lost Library performance at the Eisteddfod last year are developing on into their own entities. 

Giving away seedlings (brought into the previous piece to represent an element of what libraries can enable) mentioned within a book is one of them, as a standalone engaged piece on exchange because I found that after the Eisteddfod I had a surplus of seedlings and gave them away to my neighbours.

I met people who lived only a stone’s throw from me who I’ve never met to speak to before.  I found that this kind of ‘cold-calling’ in giving something rather than asking for support, religion or business was rather interesting. 

Some people wanted to donate to the project (I didn’t ask for anything, they were curious), others offered me something they’d made in return.

I only called on about a dozen houses.  I’m curious to see what might happen if I could do this on a wider scale. 

A local gardening group now have my tomato, little gem and zinnia seeds and they’ll plant some in their polytunnels if I’m really lucky!


Lost Library?

Statistics of library use around the UK were going to be the material for this performance, yet after sounding out possibilities for this performance and visualizing, it turned out to be not such a compelling idea for a performance. 

The participants own movement becoming more vital to the whole thing than the movement of numbers.  The ideas around my practice are leaning towards a physical response to the surface (texture) of the land and of text. 

Viv Barraclough responded to the call out and we’ve had extended conversation about the project recently and worked our way through several scenarios.  Including one involving a giant abacus! 

The most compelling idea yet involves a group of participants (us!) starting and finishing at the library, the body of the performance exploring Bath and responding through movement to the textures and people encountered. 

My aim is for it the piece to be responsive to the environment and people around.

With visits into the library throughout the performance day (trying to get to speak with Head Librarian!)

A transparent bag carried our backs containing book loaned from the library is a possibility.