Staircase Exhibition: 'Brain on a Shelf'
Brain on a Shelf
Where do Spring House members get their knowledge and inspiration from? Next to the world wide web and daily talk in the hallway, books and other print media are still a common source of information. So what sits on your shelf? What makes up your pile of books at your bedside or on the desk? What impacted your work and self? What do you plan to read next or just cannot get rid of?
This project has roots in the old quest of knowing thyself and others. I always love reading the book titles in someone’s office or shared workspace. It allows for a conversation, an ice-breaker question and there is usually one commonality. At Spring House, I’ve browsed the books in the library on the first floor. Whenever I pass Kennisland or STBY, I ogle that stack of books in the tilted book holder. And I am curious about what members do, where they draw from and how to easily begin more conversations with “strangers” in the house. Maybe sharing our books and reading habits is a step towards connecting.
This exhibition is intended to be imperfect, a work in progress. Snapshots of shelves can be blurry. There can be an odd or awkward book in there for us all to discover and have a laugh at. And that’s okay.
I looked at my bookcase with new eyes this morning. Every book I took up had a background story. And the layout of my shelves told the story of my interests and projects since my time in college.
Justine van de Beek
I try to mix fiction and non-fiction, so there is speed in my reading. Non-fiction can be confronting and activist, and I think that's good. With both types of books, I read with a marker in hand, to imprint impressive sentences in my brain (and to quickly find them later on).
In my childhood, I found solace in books/a safe haven in restless times. Now I look for books that give my thoughts wings, that stir me or that turbulently inspire me. Books that shed new light on the familiar. And I hope that the books I write pleasantly confuse my readers.
Books I use the most are all on Kundalini yoga and macrobiotic cookbooks. Mostly I read non-fiction because I think I have too little time to relax and read a good novel on the sofa. But of course, that is all in my head. My new years' resolution is to really take the time to read fiction (and not feel like I could be spending that time more efficiently).
Pjotr de Jong
Books, for me, are a real object of desire. I'm a true collector and my 8-meter long bookcase is the proof. There are so many books, I haven't even opened some of them yet..
My favourite thing to read is definitely poetry. Especially the short stories with large meaning, it automatically makes the story visual in my head. I’ve got the feeling that when I understand this and give myself time for it, I create a calm wave of understanding. Which, for me, is very precious during the busy lifestyle we live nowadays.
Anne Mieke Eggenkamp
We live in a house made of books. Our living- and dinner table stands in front of the living room bookcase. From literature to poetry and design to architecture. From Paustovski to Bauhaus.
Joanna van der Zanden
I share the bookcases (we have more) with Michel. Upper shelves are his (more organized) lower ones are mine. Our interests are hardly overlapping, though sometimes related (WWII and travel books versus culture, philosophy and gardening). This bookcase is a special design, handmade by my oldest friend.
If you both like reading and your partner works in a bookshop, it won't be long before the shelves overflow with books. What these shelves contain? Many books on music, art and photography, but also history and novels. A collection that keeps on growing!
Kim van Leuken
My favourite book is Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. He originally wrote this book for his son Zafar when he was 12 years old. Which officially makes it a children's book, but I think it's required reading for all ages. Many themes of life are described in theses stories in a humorous and fairy-tale like way.
I like books with short stories or where every chapter is a story. Then you can read a random short story before bed and keep re-reading the book if you forget which chapters you've already read.
No real bookshelves yet in our new kangoeroe living. Instead, we filled up an old school trolley with toys on one side and a random mix of reading material on the other side. Esther Perel, Kate Raworth but also GUP photography, Marjolein van Heemstra, Oliver Jeffers and the Flow Magazine. Super random, time to start swapping again.