I’ve been buzzing in and out of this place for days. Something has been taking shape among the collections of this Institution that defies classification – the collision of art, science, myth, sound, light, bell jars, boxes, performances, paintings, drawings, photographs and the resurrection of two mummies.
I can think of nowhere else like this place – whenever I turn in from Westgate Road the rest of the world disappears. There’s something that hangs in the air of this great library that is akin to the hypnotic state of reading.
Dawn Felicia Knox’s Returning to the Philosopher’s Table has been responsible for the majority of my visits here over the past few days – I’m in the process of writing some poems that Dawn and I are going to make into poem-films together.
The poems are a direct responding to an eclectic mix of artworks that Dawn has commissioned: Ben Lawson’s occult invocation of an ribbon fish under the table in the James Knott room is something destined for legend and my response is a playful new poetic form; I’m excited about writing from Dawn’s notes to be taken at Sally Madge’s performance lecture later in June (a hearsay poem of sorts); and lastly there’s my response to the whispering beauty of Stephen Livingstone’s moth cuts – a work which silences you in the best possible way. The words for that one are still dancing around (much like the moths in Stephen’s work).
I can think of nowhere else like this place – the opportunity to come here and write feels like a privilege. This refuge, this place where ideas can wander and mix. Here it happens as easily as picking up a book. On Thursday I embark for the High Arctic where I’ll be finding another place to disconnect and think. I know I will bring something of that place back to Lit and Phil.
The buzz is picking up a pace now – the clock racing on toward 6pm when the doors will open on the Lit and Phil’s latest transformation. People are arriving; the tension is building to the point where it will slowly dissipate as this serene space fills. Long may it continue into the future, this bringing together of thinkers under one roof.