Wednesday June 17th, 2009

Invisible Books Come Into View

kilgoreHere’s a marriage of good ideas:

Last summer, Ed Park and Levi Stahl created The Invisible Library, an evolving list of books that have been mentioned in other works of art but don’t really exist.

Two of the better known “authors” represented are John Irving’s T.S. Garp and Kurt Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout (with the wonderfully titled Pan-Galactic Three-Day Pass). Trout’s author “photo” by Vonnegut can be seen at left. The library also includes work from movies, like Family of Geniuses by Etheline Tenenbaum from Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums.

Now, a literary foundation and an “illustration collective” in the UK are bringing some of these titles to life for an art exhibit. Up through July 12 at the Tenderpixel Gallery in London, the Invisible Library becomes partially visible. Forty of the book’s covers have been designed for display, and artists of various stripes have written opening or closing pages for them. The rest will be an interactive experience, like so:

The collaboration continues throughout the exhibition as gallery attendees and workshop participants are invited to temporarily ’sign out’ these library books and carry on writing the developing narratives within. Thus by the close of the exhibition, the once blank pages of each book will be enlivened with imaginative poly-vocal stories.

Here are some photos from the scene. I hope someone in the U.S. — preferably New York, for convenience’s sake — brings the exhibit here.