‘From the page to the city: the mobile library’
Workshop with Manuel Raeder in collaboration with Santiago da Silva held in Mexico City, January 25–29, 2012 organized by Toxico Cultura
"A book is a sequence of spaces. Each of these spaces is perceived at a different moment - a book is also a sequence of moments. [. . .]
"Space exists outside subjectivity. If two subjects communicate in the space, then space is an element of this communication. Space modifies this communication. Space imposes its own laws on this communication. Printed words are imprisoned in the matter of the book."
The New Art of Making Books, Ulises Carrión
Reading a book from beginning to end and browsing through many books in a bookshop are two different reading experiences. The first is defined by the physical structure of the book, while the second depends on the distribution of many books in a place. In both cases, space, time and chance are factors that intervene. But, while navigating through different books, one after the other, there is a possibility for the association of topics, ideas, words and images to occur in unexpected ways. This sometimes chaotic experience can remind us of Borges’ library of Babel, where all the possible lectures of all the possible books exist at the same time. The actual place where reading takes place affects how the books are seen and read. It’s not the same experience to read a book in the beach than in the subway. Which new readings and interpretations can arise if the bookshop is dislocated from the idea of a shop and its’ confined space? This workshop will explore how a book can expand into the physical space and how the content of a bookshop can be directly integrated in the context of a city like Mexico, without an established area to contain it. The starting point will be bookshop Conejoblanco, one of Mexico City’s prime spots for everything book-related. We will depart from the contents and structure of the bookshop, the arrangement of books and its’ multiple interpretations.
For five days, the workshop will focus in rethinking the idea of a conventional bookshop towards the atopic, the dislocation and the displacement, seeking for new links between books, the city and its’ inhabitants. Departing from the book as a sequence of moments, the scope will expand to reach the physical space:
The word to the paragraph to the page to the book to the shelf to the bookshop to the street to the city
Manuel Raeder’s work has focused, during the last 10 years, in exploring the possibilities of the book as a three-dimensional space. His practice has led him to develop not only books and publications that function under this idea, but also tools, structures and furniture that propose different ways of reading.
Thanks to everyone who took part!