Not long ago, I developed “Open Up”; an art installation with the purpose of bringing forward the forgotten power of words. It is a simple construction, where several origami shurikens with poems written on them are placed (both visibly and in hiding) in a book. This is an interactive installation; the public is invited to contribute to this installation with their own thoughts and to reflect on what words mean to them, how they use it and how it affects the others. I was overwhelmed by the generous support received from my fellow artists and poets, as well as from other members of the public.
During the critical feed-back session in my class, I really loved one particular comment, coming from my teacher. She had this vision of shurikens through the book shelves. I struggled with how to achieve this. I have a great respect for libraries and would not do anything that could be deemed as littering, or disrespectful. On the other hand, I felt that concealing the shurikens around the shelves or in the books may be exactly what is needed, to bring up the hidden power of words. It made me think with nostalgia back to the pre-internet times, when borrowing books from the library, I would find a random note from a total stranger, writing about the reasons they loved the book you were reading and asking you to continue writing about it. It resulted in charming chain-letters placed within the book for the next person to find.
However, what helped me make up my mind was the fact that mid project, the question was raised from members of the public not living in Canberra whether they could be considered to participate. This, and the willingness of other participants to keep on contributing poems, made me consider giving this project a new life, both on Social Media and around libraries and cultural institutions in Canberra, both in an analogue and a digital form.
I have created a QR code that links to the project’s explanation. This QR code will be attached to shuriken-poems who will be placed randomly but respectfully around cultural institutions. If you are the one finding our shurikens, please consider contributing your own, placing it in a location significant to you.
Also, you can chose to take images or selfies and upload them on the Social media with the hashtag #OpenUp.