Acts of Reading and Giving (Away) is a project based on books found on a public book exchange shelf in Singapore. These books were originally presents, as indicated by handwritten notes and dedications inside, and were gifted between 1939 to the last known year of 2016.
The project was supported by an artist residency at The Art House, Wakefield, and awarded by a visual art scholarship by the Royal Over-seas League, London.
Acts of Reading assembled Readers who reviewed the books in a reading group, and postulated the reasons of why a book originally given in love, were given away. Through careful arrangements of domestic objects, companion books, and other bric-a-bracs, the acts of reading and giving (away) are imagined and explained through a sculptural and installation presence. Acts of Reading explores the different ways in which books, cultural objects, and words weighed by meaning, and how they change with social relevance as they are superimposed by one context, period, or era to another. The work contemplates the book as a gift alongside themes of cultural semantics, literary habits, and the post and intercultural condition.
The work was shown at The Manchester Contemporary and The Art House.
The Pilgrim’s Progress had the words: “Dear Farrah, Congratulations on your baptism…”. Reader Nick Norton replies to the book with this letter.
Present (Present) | Companion titles, found book “A Dictionary of Modern English Usage”, and handwritten note by Reader Helen Thomas
We Become Readers | Found books originating from London, York, Wakefield, and Singapore
Readers and contributors: Rob Clarke, Jen Garrick, Dale Brendan Hyde, Nick Norton, Mandy Shepherd, Jim Souper, Helen Thomas, Sydney Thornsbury, Alexandra Vaughan