The Bibliomancer’s Dream (2009)



4000+ recycled books, bespoke bookshelves, cranking system, pens, scrolls.

This large-scale book installation took the form of a set of twelve two metre high bookshelves arranged in a circle with writing desks and scrolls attached, spanning the floor of The Clore Ballroom in the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre.

Referencing the ancient ritual of bibliomancy (the art of divining with books) visitors to the installation were invited to select a book at random and pick a line or verse in order to learn a truth or simply inspire the imagination. Used by many cultures throughout history and each with a preferred text by which to practice the tradition, bibliomancy has long been viewed as a way of seeking guidance or answering a question

Writing their discovered text onto a giant length of ribbon, the wisdom seekers cranked up the scroll by means of a medieval-style pulley which spooled through the bookshelf like flying poetry. Like some sort of primitive Ipod, The Bibliomancer’s Dream shuffled words and sentences around the library, allowing others to share the magic of randomly created poetry.

Installation by Alinah Azadeh, with Willow Winston and Terence Williams.

Commissioned and produced by Southbank Centre as part of Imagine Children’s Literature Festival.

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