The Library of Unborrowed Books by Meriç Algün Ringborg

 

“There is a selection made of what books accompany us into the future. Within education, for instance, the establishment of a canon is clear – it is the venue for the particular echo that determines what books persevere, those that are to be kept in the loop and read again by the next generation. This comes natural, a selection is necessary, and it’s made in different instances either conscious or unconscious. Nevertheless, the books that are left behind — those deemed useless or for unknown reasons are abandoned — still exist in physical form, organized and systematized within the one institution representative of knowledge in all its forms, the library.

The Library of Unborrowed Books bases itself on the concept of the library as an institution manifesting language and knowledge, of the passing of awareness and the openness to all types of people and literature. This work, however, comprises all the books from a selected library that have never been borrowed. The framework in this instance hints at what has been disregarded, knowledge essentially unconsumed, and puts on display what has eluded us.

Why these books aren’t ‘chosen,’ why they are overlooked, will never be clear but whatever each book contains, en masse they become representative of the gaps and cracks of history, or the bureaucratic cataloging of the world and the ambivalent relationship between absence and presence. In this library their existence is validated simply by being borrowed, underlining their being as well as their content and form by putting them on display in an autonomous library dedicated to the books yet to have been revealed.

The first section of The Library of Unborrowed Books have opened Stockholm with 600 books that are unborrowed from Stockholms Stadsbiblioteket (Stockholm Public Library) for a period of three-weeks.”

– Meriç Algün Ringborg

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