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Mini Bookshelf Visitors (2016)

Junyuan Loo

35 Paper-cut outs with colored paper stands.

Inspired by Michael Lee Hong Hwee’s mini figures, the installation is made up of 35 papercut mini figures, secured with paper-stands. Each mini figure is unique, symbolizing the 35 weeks of being an ADM student. Most mini figures are designed to be place on the head of various books with their paper stands stuck between the pages. Viewers are welcomed to place the figures in other books to have them interact with different books and other figures. (While placing these figures, some require the selected books to be pulled half way from the shelves for a better effect.) If viewers are interested to the books that the figures are placed, please place the figure to a new book or relevant location as its initial state instead of placing it aside. This will help to keep the installation in its intended installment.

The installation explores the feeling of intrigued and curiosity a library visitors can get through browsing the bookshelves. When one is browsing the book spine’s title without any library number codes in mind, one can always find book titles that is enticing the viewer, with hopes that the book’s content could surprise more.  The installation was designed to engage similar thoughts and anticipation, leading the viewers with its quirkiness from one figure to another, discovering fun and interest within the shelves.

The work is accompanied by instructions to have the viewers interacts with the figures but handle them with care while doing so. Many fellow classmates reviewed that they might be blocking people who are seeking books or neglected by people who look for books by the code numbers. Therefore, I consider this installation as a social experiment of the relationship between installations and library visitors. Since most installations were installed at the side of people’s daily routine, what interaction will produce if the installation was installed between the visitors and their targeted books?

At the end of the installation period, 12pm April 15th, I went to the location to collect my figures, and the following scenery was discovered.

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As you can see, many of them were misplaced, pulled out, attempted to be placed back the original locations, roughly handled and placed aside. (Fortunately, none of them went missing.) The phenomena are sort of within my expectation except the one with the book “From Pinewood to Hollywood”. I was delighted as I saw the book was placed by one of the visitors for the walk-and-browse figure. Although this is the only positive outcome from the attempted interaction, I was still cheered from previous frustration. My interest towards this form of art was thus heighten again.

The Library is one of the most interesting I had in 4D module because I have never approached with installation art before. I am grateful to Mr. Michael Tan for giving us this opportunity to try out this medium. I had a lot of fun (while exhausted in the making) as mentioned by Mr. Michael. This will be another experience of the module I won’t forget.

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PS: I thank NTU Library for sharing my work onto their Facebook Page, it’s a great honor and thank Mr. Michael Tan for informing the good news!!

Thanks for reading!

Since everyone was so far ahead of the updates, I am gonna do a quick summarized update for my project 3 – The Library in ONE post.

Thinking of an installation art about the library is no easy task. This location is very common to anyone who has been a student, yet many of the library visitor has different perspective of the place. The ADM library is rather the most special library among our universities library. This can be due to its special layout design, use of spaces, functionality of different region, and also the research materials it contains. It’s pretty obvious for ADM library’s specialty so I won’t talk too much about it.

When it comes to conceptualizing, I’ve always like to start from my point of view. For me, the library is a place for homework, individual concentration, research paper brainstorming, and research materials searching. I always spend my extra time in the library. (only if I waiting for certain event to start and I have no sustainable leisure alternatives such as my laptop around me. ) What I like to do in the library is surfing through the shelves, and see if there’s any book titles on their spines that catch my attention. It’s kinda like surfing the internet without intentions but you do it in the real life.

SO most of my ideas originate from the act of surfing the bookshelves.

1. see through the shelf 2. obstacle 3. obstacle 2 4. I rather 1 5. I rather 2 6. blind search

(From top left)

I thought about the views we’ve missed when we search for the books, the layers of space formed by the holes that’s formed by the books and the shelves. And then there’s the inevitable obstacle set by people who were too focus on their chosen books and unintentionally blocked the pathways. The space I’ve mentioned in the first one also caught my attention and I wonder if I can express how certain series of books have lost their timeliness due to constant technological upgrades. I’ve also wanted to play with searching action by deliberately covering the paths to increase the difficulty of my “bookshelves surfing”.

The responses from I got from Mr. Michael Tan, is that these works can be improved in terms of directed perspective, importance, and relational attributes. Several artist works are also introduced such as Michael Lee Hong Hwee and Robert Gober,

Finally I’ve chosen the idea of placing little figures around the shelves that stimulates my idea of bookshelves surfing. The decision is based on removing the installation ideas that isn’t manageable, completely curated, and relevant to the whole 4D modules. The little figures concept is inspired by Michael Lee Hong Hwee’s work as he printed out many scaled down versions of him and set them “free to play around”. I wanted to try the concept with my own interpretation and context.

The challenges of the work is the consideration I needed to take on about the work’s detailed presentation. This includes the amount of the little figures, their presentations, and their consistent actions to fit my theme. I will have the mock ups completed within the following week.

Thanks for reading and please look forward to my updates!