From the page to the city: The mobile library
Manuel Raeder and Santiago da Silva

From the page to the city: The mobile library

Workshop with Manuel Raeder and Santiago da Silva
Mexico City, January 25–29, 2012
organised by Toxico Cultura

Reading a book from beginning to end and browsing through many books in a bookshop are two different reading experiences. The first is defined by the physical structure of the book, while the second depends on the distribution of many books in a place. In both cases, space, time and chance are factors that intervene. But while navigating through different books, one after the other, there is a possibility for the association of topics, ideas, words and images to occur in unexpected ways. This sometimes chaotic experience can remind us of Borges’ library of Babel, where all the possible lectures of all the possible books exist at the same time. The actual place where reading takes place affects how the books are seen and read. It’s not the same experience to read a book in the beach than in the subway. Which new readings and interpretations can arise if the bookshop is dislocated from the idea of a shop and its’ confined space? This workshop will explore how a book can expand into the physical space and how the content of a bookshop can be directly integrated in the context of a city like Mexico, without an established area to contain it. The starting point will be bookshop Conejoblanco, one of Mexico City’s prime spots for everything book-related. We will depart from the contents and structure of the bookshop, the arrangement of books and its’ multiple interpretations.

For five days, the workshop will focus in rethinking the idea of a conventional bookshop towards the atopic, the dislocation and the displacement, seeking for new links between books, the city and
its’ inhabitants. Departing from the book as a sequence of moments,
as conceived by Ulises Carrión, the scope will expand to reach the physical space, following George Perec’s scheme from Espèces d’espaces:

The word → the paragraph → the page → the book → the shelf →
the bookshop → the street → the city

Thanks to everyone who took part!

Very special thanks to Gabriella Gomez Mont and Marcela Flores.