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March 5, 2018 | by  | in Arts Visual Arts |
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The Kiosk

Fans of the VicBooks collective will already be familiar with their long-running installation/performance work The Kiosk.

Drawing on a range of influences, from French semioticians to Hans-Peter Feldmann’s ‘store art’, The Kiosk asks us to consider the function of a store.

The basis of the work is a “satellite store”, or kiosk, near the established university bookshop. In a Magrittean twist, this smaller “VicBooks” contains no books, instead serving real coffee and snacks to participating audience members. The Kiosk thus stretches the relationship between sign and signified, its physical presence declaring that ceci n’est pas un libraire. Its nature as an interactive installation work inflects this old theme with a performative sensibility: The Kiosk constantly (re)enacts meaning, questioning how we define the space of a bookshop and what actions are necessary to mark that space.

Given the ever-growing supremacy of Kobo and Kindle, this is not an idle question. Bookshops are more than simply places of purchase:  they represent a culture of browsing, considering, searching, and learning. They are semi-public spaces in which a particular relationship to literature is acted out. Created by an art collective which also runs a real bookshop, The Kiosk is an urgent attempt to question what might happen to those spaces in a future where physical books are increasingly rare.

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