Colette Fu (LTA '13) was commissioned by the Office of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy's Percent for Art Program to create eight tunnel book dioramas that will be installed at the Free Library of Philadelphia. She hopes to give visibility to the field of book arts and commemorate the numerous stacks being removed from the library.
This commission is part of a $36 million major renovation at the Free Library's Parkway Central Branch. First opened in 1927, the Parkway Central Library serves as the flagship branch of the Library system, currently welcoming more than 1 million visitors each year. FLP presents a vast array of cultural enrichment and educational programming, alongside comprehensive professional development tools and services.
The eight tunnel book dioramas will be installed in the bookshelves that separate the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) and the Common areas of the new renovations. Each tunnel book will consist of four to six pieces of uniquely laser-cut acrylic, layered in a way that creates a complex and playful design between light and shadow. Imagery for her work will stem from two primary sources: 1. Historical photos that Ms. Fu took of the removed stacks; 2. Collaged imagery and words acquired through existing Library workshops, such as poetry slams and other community literary events.
For Ms. Fu, the work is three-fold: "My hope is to first, emphasize that there is a line of continuity in the book form as it moves from more historic book forms, including movable books, to modern day iPads, cellphones, and Kindles. Second, I want to give visibility to the field of book arts, and to show that a book can possess interesting qualities beyond its text, specifically through printing methods, paper choice, and the binding. Lastly, I want to commemorate the book, the library, the artist book, Philadelphia, and most of all the stacks that are being permanently removed from the library."