The Lost Library

Catherine Wynne-Paton is an artist based in Abergavenny in Wales and she sees her practice as a kind of listening.  She’s building an archive of resonant words chosen by visitors to The Lost Library, that form the lending stock and the starting point for a series of paintings. 

The Lost Library is both a live and expanded performance in which the experience of joining a library is morphed into a ritual which includes the collection of resonant words from the site of performance (via a manual typewriter), a mute librarian, a registration form for participants to enrol and pose a question, a physical pondering of the question (later blogged about) and the issuing of a membership card and a one-word loan.  Unlike conventional librarians, this one considers the question silently rather than guiding the member to useful information sources. 

The Lost Library has appeared at The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Fringe Arts Bath, Deptford X Fringe, The Wrexham Open and MainSpring Arts.   

The project has changed format dramatically over the last few years, being open and receptive to new ideas, new ways of working and a desire to understand the contexts and particularities of the locations it appears in, allowing influence from the places visited, each venue adding to the project in some way and being carried onwards through development into the next.  This adds to the ‘lostness’ of the project, it has evolved and wobbled this way and that, while stepping onwards into the unknown, not knowing what will be asked.   

The Lost Library is about inviting questions, holding them, activating knowledge and spiritedly going into the unknown.

Twitter & Instagram: @wynnepaton