The Lost Library

The Lost Library came about when in 2015 it became more and more noticeable how many libraries and librarians we were losing in the UK, but in particularly high numbers in Wales.  I felt the need to respond to the situation in some way.  Opportunity came when I heard that The National Eisteddfod of Wales was going to be in Abergavenny the following year.  Back in 2015 I wanted to work with dancers to respond to text within the books while reading it, but all my efforts to enable this to come about failed miserably! 

The Eisteddfod were featuring the book Border Country by Raymond Williams that year so working with the book and the idea of a mobile library I used imagery from the book - a wheelbarrow features in the book and gardening and the railway and so I worked with art students, one of them converted a 1950’s wheelbarrow to carry a roll of text and a local gardening group grew seeds that featured in the book, the little gems grew really well and so I gave away text from the book and seedlings to represent what I feel libraries represent for a community: ideas and growth.  

Since it’s inception this project has evolved into a joining ritual and the sifting of a word to represent the reduced offer of libraries with so many closing and shedding staff.

Being particularly sensitive to location and to language, this is my way of understanding the land I inhabit. The here and now.  I understand the land I’m in through the words people around me consider to be important and the questions they ask.   
  
I read a question, consider it and carry it into movement.  I am attuning myself to where I find myself, paying particular attention to the land, people and sounds of the places I inhabit, I am deeply listening. 
  
This is a word choosing, question-pondering nomadic library focussed on the mind-body connection of language and movement.   
  
Built upon the idea that the best way to fully consider a question is by holding it, not only in mind, but to move bodily while considering it to see unexpected aspects.  The questions are currently picked at from those submitted by anyone interested in the project in or linked with the area of performance.

Recently, under lockdown conditions due to the Coronavirus, a couple of performances were cancelled and so I produced a video weekly for 15 weeks, in my house, garden and private and public parks and gardens as the lockdown conditions were lifted.

The Lost Library is a way to find out what philosophical questions concern people in the places visited and respond to those questions through movement, attempting to access knowledge I hold deep within.

 

Below is my most recent video featuring the question:

 

What defines life, is it something extra, a different quality from inorganic matter?

© 2020 by Catherine Wynne-Paton