In 2020, we initiated The Library of Our Encounters – a long-term project of Swimming Pool dedicated to what has changed most radically lately: the encounter – as event, presence, time and meaning. The second edition, titled words between us, hanging just so, continues to explore the idea of the encounter as a space for reflection and transformation. The project combines the personal and the collective – and turns the encounter between people and ideas into an opportunity to slow down and rethink our surrounding reality.
At the beginning of this year, we invite friends and colleagues, visitors and like-minded individuals to participate in creating a new type of library. Everyone carries inside topics and texts they would like to share, as well as emotions and fantasies associated with them. Let us meet and copy by hand those words significant to us, preserving their innermost value but also entrusting it to others.
The texts will form a growing archive of presences and encounters, of emerging relations and connections. With copying in longhand as a method for generating written material, we turn to a way of self-reflection and sharing more personal than digital copying. The handwriting on each of the manuscripts imprints the self of the person who chose the passage and through whose mind the words have passed before becoming part of the publicness of the archive. It is this process of creation that embodies the idea of the library as an encounter; exhibiting the fragments materializes it and is a testimony to its occurrence.
The dynamic architecture that contains the texts borrows elements from the geometry of Swimming Pool. The floating wooden portals offer a new perspective and create an atmosphere of daydreaming, and their spatial overlapping offers a fluid framing of meanings.
In the coming months, transcripts will be generated in the library, and new presences will be added to it. On February 5, we will begin this process. Books from our and other libraries will be available for you to copy a fragment. We will also be happy if you become part of our spatial archive with a passage from a book of your choosing. If you wish, you can add the book to the library for the duration of the project.
As part of words between us, hanging just so, in the second half of March we will also hold several conversations with colleagues and friends about words, books, the archive, and the encounter. Among them are Natasha Cheung, a visual artist from Hong Kong who views text, installation, photography, video, performance, conversation, as well as drawing itself as forms of drawing – and a means of articulating incompatible assemblages of identity; Min Park, a learner and a creative from Seoul, South Korea whose greatest interests lie in the intersection of art and writing, and whose work has focused on personal and collective archives, among other topics; Sofia Popiordanova, a visual artist in the spheres of graphic design, illustration, and book design, who in her personal projects likes to experiment with different book formats and with the possibilities of illustration; and Momchil Milanov, whose first novel Summer in Stormland will give occasion to talk about the ability of imagination to resist power, as well as about traumas and historical memory.
The Library of Our Encounters is a long-term project of Swimming Pool that started in November 2020 with a textual and spatial arrangement created in collaboration with Christoph Szalay and Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga. The Library not only contains our growing selection of books, carefully collected over the last few years, but it also foregrounds itself as a possible space for a series of encounters between words, ideas, silences, people, aiming to reconsider the trajectory of our thinking.