About a year ago Julia Marchesi, a 32-year-old documentary film producer, saw a picture in the New York Times of sculpture in Berlin made up of a carved out tree trunk filled with bookshelves. “I just thought it was a really cool idea,” she said. “A little library.” That image helped to serve as the inspiration for a project Marchesi is now raising money for on Kickstarter. Noticing a Brooklyn trend of leaving books on stoops, Marchesi, who lives in Cobble Hill, enlisted the help of Brooklyn-based public artist Leon Reid IV to design an “honor system lending library” in Cobble Hill Park. Called “The Hundred Story House,” the library, if built, will look like a down-sized brownstone.
“I thought, ‘hey, why not have a miniature brownstone, so it seems like it fits into the environment?'” Reid told Runnin’ Scared when we talked to him earlier this week. “When people see things that fit into the environment they are more comfortable with approaching it and it seems familiar.”
For Reid — you may remember him from his “Tourist-in-Chief” — this project is different from his other work in that he often creates art that is literally out of people’s reach. By nature of the idea, however, The Hundred Story House must interact with its viewers. Reid, also 32, explained the windows of his brownstone creation will hold the books for removal.
“That would be the place to put the books so that they would be protected just like people are,” Reid said, recalling his thought process.
The House, to Reid, makes the act of reading an experience that you can’t get from, say, using an e-reader. Getting a Kindle, however, was just another event that led Marchesi to the Hundred Story House idea.
“I got a Kindle and it totally changed my life,” she said. “I was so into it, and I was buying books and reading the New York Times and everything. And then I just got a little sad that I wasn’t going to my book store as much and I didn’t have a need for books.”
She thought of the project as a way to elicit sharing of and inviting conversations around books.
Though the project will still have to get approval for the parks department, both Reid and Marchesi say that if it’s a hit they would like to move it to other locations.
You can watch Leon Reid IV talk about their project:
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 4, 2012