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The Library Is Open! brings together two library themed durational performances: “The Itinerant Poetry Library” by Sara Wingate Gray and “Psychic Bibliophiles” by Istanbul Queer Art Collective.

on April 13, 2019

at Oscar Wilde Temple, Studio Voltaire

IQAC from the performance Psychic Biblio

The Oscar Wilde Temple is a wholly immersive work by New York based artists McDermott & McGough. It is also a secular space honouring one of the earliest forebears of gay liberation whilst commemorating contemporary LGBTQ+ martyrs and those lost to the AIDS crisis. For the Temple’s first ever incarnation in the UK, Studio Voltaire Gallery, which is a Victorian former chapel, has been dramatically transformed to create an environment that celebrates the Irish poet and author: period wallpaper, stained glass windows, hangings and 19th century chandeliers and furniture adorn the space, evoking the provocative sensuousness of the Aesthetic Movement.

The Itinerant Poetry Library (TIPL) is a non static, special collections public library of poetry. For free, for everyone, and for everywhere, or at least, everywhere we can get to. Operating without the confines of a building of its own, but within parameters of typical library systems, including free membership for all, circulation procedures, library regulation and the overseeing of the library’s collection by a librarian in situ, the project fundamentally explores, and encourages users to explore, our perceptions of what a library might be. It’s part public library, part life-experiment and part live art performance. We’ve now clocked up over 1,000 hours of public library service in 14 countries and in over 200+ different locations, with the collection now having more than 12 languages represented.

The Itinerant Poetry Library

Itinerant Poetry Librarian

Psychic Bibliophiles: The two members of the Istanbul Queer Art Collective, Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul, will be bringing their artwork “Just in Bookcase” to the Temple, which is a memento of their now dispersed library. “Just in Bookcase” is a suitcase full of hand written cards, one for each of the 2000 books they used to own and had to leave behind when they moved from Istanbul to London. During the performance, each visitor will be encouraged to browse the suitcase and select 3 cards. Then the collective members will tell the stories of the cards and by extension the books chosen, which will also give an impression of what it was like to have lived and read in Istanbul. Think of it as a cross-cultural tarot card reading, if you like. The visitor that happens upon the Oscar Wilde cards in the suitcase will be cheered and gifted with a random Oscar Wilde quote.

Istanbul Queer Art Collective

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