Book Arts

Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?

23/04/20 – 30/06/20

Launched as a virtual exhibition on World Book Night – Thursday 23rd April 2020.

The WBN United Artists selected texts for 2020 were nominated by Csilla Bíro, Sarah Bodman, Nancy Campbell and Linda Parr. In light of Nancy Campbell’s book The Library of Ice: Readings from a Cold Climate (Scribner, 2018) we decided not to travel. Instead we travelled virtually through fiction and libraries. Our set texts for WBN 2020 were: W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn (New Directions Books, 1998), Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018), and the poem ‘Questions of Travel’ by Elizabeth Bishop (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965). We asked people to sit in libraries (real or imagined), read books and travel through their imagination. Little did we know when we set the brief how horribly relevant it would become as Covid-19 created pandemic lockdowns around the world.

98 artists joined the project, sending us 113 postcards from Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Nepal, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA.

WBN United artists had originally planned to physically exhibit all the postcards together over the month of April 2020 at Bower Ashton Library here at UWE Bristol. However, our plans adapted as public spaces closed. Instead WBN United Artists present to you our exhibition in a Postcard Album, with all the postcards gathered together, and placed within by Sarah Bodman as they arrived in the physical and virtual post.

We will go ahead with the mail art exchange keepsake for each contributor of a physical postcard. This will contain one copy of an editioned postcard produced by us, WBN United artists and one of the postcards sent in. The images shown here are of the WBN postcards we have been editioning at home (with typewriters, collage, rubber stamps etc.) to send out with some envelopes specially designed for WBN2020. The text on the WBN postcard was devised and printed on her Adana press by Linda Parr.

Our exhibition and mail art exchange will take place as soon as we can collect all of the postcards waiting for us at Bower Ashton.

Our virtual exhibition Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? can be visited here. We wish you a Happy World Book Night 2020, wherever you are, stay safe.

The World Book Night exhibition and exchange for 2020 has been coordinated by Sarah Bodman and Linda Parr. UWE Library (Bower Ashton) is also sharing images of the postcards individually on Twitter between 24th April and 30th June 2020. LIBRARIES * EVEN * ELECTRONIC * ARE * MAGIC