Reading Cabin

A while back, there was some talk amongst the MMU Art History team about creating a writing room/writing cabin for the roof garden of the new art school building. This room/cabin would be a place where staff, students, and visitors could go and write. There was even discussion of having writing residences for different people to spend time writing in the room/cabin. While visiting the Botanical Gardens in Lisbon today, I came across a portable reading cabin created by the Portuguese artist Marta Wengorovius. This cabin contained a number of texts that could be selected by people who interacted with the project by filling in a form created by the artist. The overall project could be described as an example of ‘relational aesthetics’ as defined by Nicolas Bourriaud. This involves the creation of artworks designed to generate interactions between people and consequently produce a fleeting community that will somehow make up for a perceived poverty of communal relations within wider society. As Wengorovius observes of her project: ‘The use of this library creates a community of people, those who wrote the books, the ones who chose them, and those who will read them wherever this library shall be passing.’ One wonders how different this community would be to those defined by the writing, selecting, and reading networks (both non-virtual and virtual) that already exist in other ways within society. Nevertheless, the form of the reading cabin in Lisbon might constitute a model for the possibility of a writing room/writing cabin at MMU.

The first two photos are mine; the third is from Wengorovius’ website






About Art Theory and Practice

BA Contemporary Art History Manchester School of Art

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