Monday, April 26, 2010

David Garcia: Meaning, Metaphor and the Personal Library

Copenhagen-based architect David Garcia runs an eponymous studio which he calls "an experimental architectural platform" with an open door philosophy, encouraging collaborations with designers, artists and engineers.

"Archive" is three-part installation which explores meaning, metaphor and the notion of the personal library. was first exhibited at the Royal Danish Art Academy Fall Show in 2005. Garcia calls these installations "investigations on space and books. Its departure point is density and micro spaces, and a series of traditional relationships that humans have to books."

Archive I (midground installation above) is "a weight balance library. The reader's chair is elevated in proportion to the amount of books in the shelves." This is a witty take on the bourgeois tradition of book ownership and display as a signifier of status. The piece is also a commentary on the right to learn, and freely share information. The more books are removed from the shelves, and consumed, the lighter the library becomes. The reader becomes "well rounded" with the weight and importance of imparted knowledge , but paradoxically closer to being "well grounded", if the information is shared and not re-shelved.

Archive III (glimpsed in the background) is a "censored book stand. The books close suddenly if anyone approaches the reading stand." (Take that, DRM!)

Archive II is a "circular library for the nomad book collector, allowing the user to step inside, and walk away with half a ton of books."

"Private collections have existed for centuries, but when this is added to nomadic behaviour, curious contradictions arise; this is the area studied by Archive II. How can an individual travel with it’s own library, given that books are so heavy? This is something we can all relate to when moving house. Archive II is a nomadic library, a transport system and an intimate space. Inspired by ancient travelling libraries from the Far East, which visited courts and cities, Archive II transforms this into a personal space, where walking and reading coexist as refuge and transport." ( Cozy...there's an app for that!)

Garcia notes that in the 9 hours it might take to read an average novel, you'd be able to travel about 43 kilometers, dryly adding "If you read and walk, watch out for traffic." This gives new meaning to the dangers of texting while driving.

Archive II is owned and on exhibition at the University of Roskilde Main Library, designed by the firm Henning Larsen (Garcia is an associate of the firm). Photographs of this gorgeous building can be seen here.

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