Lately, lacking inspiration I found myself looking at a Google search bar armed with the momentum to explore, but missing the “Why.What.Who.” I submitted ‘bored’ and ‘lost’ simply to fill the blank and kick start something… Anything. I soon realise that it isn’t advisable to go looking for knowledge for its own sake and maybe it would be more advisable to start with an initial topic and expanded from it, spiralling endlessly towards further inquiry and uncharted territories – becoming the foundations of research and the never-ending pursuit of knowledge production. (An instant divergence in my thought process leads me toward a search ‘knowledge production’ resulting in an interesting Youtube link. In less than a minute into the lecture, after reflecting on the self imposed 1000 word count, I also found the answer to ‘How long is a novel?’). These digressions prove my current inability to keep on topic and evidence that in an age of twitter I have a tendency to mediate snippets of facts, most of which are forgotten even before they are posted. Do these hourly detours and Wiki searches mean anything? How much of this endless one-dimensional investigation can I recall, especially when it is so widely and immediately available on live media? Is any of this useful? Or indeed, research?
When, in a similar unimaginative place over a year ago, I satisfied my desire to pursue further erudition by setting myself a reading list project. This manifested itself as an ongoing bespoke index of books created with the help of curators and artists who shared knowledge through lending a selection of three books they owned, which were returned when read. I liked the personal element to borrowing a book and the urgency to read and restore it to its owner. I enjoy the private interaction between the borrower and myself, and how that interaction translates the book in front of me, bridging the gap between what is published (the expert/knowledge giver) and me (the apprentice/receiver). Pencilled comments in the margins or a forgotten receipts left in the crease of a page add another serendipitous emphasis to a page which otherwise might have gone unnoticed. Through questioning why a corner was folded over or why a section is underlined I reread sections with newfound rigour. I seek the collection of personal experience and memories surrounding this encounter, which can intimately connect the content to the owner of the book and a relevance to their own practices or investigations.
Realising this text has taken a slightly tangential turn, I hibernate the technology, source a pen and paper and think of an alternative place for information – The Library; A space where a want for knowledge can be satisfied in a clear linier manner; the place of calm quiet focus – assuming again that you have a starting point. Housed in The Study at Nottingham Contemporary is The Bookmark Project, where artist Yelena Popova has invited eleven Nottingham based artists to create interventions inside books within the permanent collection. Each artist accentuates a specific selection of a pre-existing text with a constructed/readymade marker. The bookmarks themselves are conscientiously constructed, some complimenting whilst others disrupting their reference points: yet each bringing a moment of delight and surprise to the tranquil surroundings. To catalogue the work would undermine the treasure hunt and the subsequent singular experience between the artist, the author and myself. Yet, I can reveal that the project sated my need for inspiration, providing a short and zesty introduction to some of those texts I-should-have-read-by-now-but-never-really-got-around-to and highlighted others, which only recommendations could ever reveal.
The Study itself is approachable, current and growing, like the organisation that nurtures it. These books reflect not only the exhibiting artist and curatorial concepts but are also an insight into the personalities behind the creation of what Nottingham Contemporary has and is achieving. The Bookmark Project adds another dimension to this conversation, providing a deeper context of the artists which have been integral contributors to the surrounding art-scene, who have contributed and supported the past, present and future of the city’s establishing international contemporary art gallery – all of whom have unknowingly contributed to my personal reading list collection.
The Bookmark Project
15 April 2011 – 26 June 2011
Bookmarks created by 11 Nottingham-based artists, inserted in The Study book collection
Curated by Yelena Popova
Participating artists: Wayne Burrows, Mik Godley, Candice Jacobs, Aaron Juneau, Geoff Diego Litherland, Samuel Mercer, Yelena Popova, Simon Raven, Niki Russell, Rob Van Beek and Thomas M. Wright
 “According to Gur’s theory of boredom, everything that happens in the world today is because of boredom: love, war, inventions, fake fireplaces – ninety-five percent of all that is pure boredom.” — Etgar Keret (The Nimrod Flipout: Stories), Sourced http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/14914.
 Answer: 40-70,000 words