Reading Environment: Meghan Gordon, “Lights for Collaborating at Night”
Meghan Gordon’s installation explores the relational nature of the audiobook, considering the multiple sensorial channels that are activated in its production and reception. Her interest in listening to books while performing various kinds of labor has prompted her to design a participatory reading environment for 3307 built around the concept of sensual collaborative multi-tasking.
Positioned throughout 3307 is a series of neon sculptures titled Lights For Collaborating At Night. Each sculpture includes a reading light and a shelving platform that supports a book, a tape recorder, and an object to be used on the body. Gordon invites partners, of any nature, to select a text from the BOOKSHELVES collection and record themselves reading aloud as they explore the neon-lit areas. With tools ranging from a paintbrush to a comb to a broom, Gordon offers the reader-listener pairs a game of total sense-play. At the end of her residency, these recordings of textual intimacy will be mixed into one continuous audio file that documents the exhibition and forms a new combinatory narrative in its own right. This text will be accessioned into the permanent collection as 3307’s first audiobook.
The BOOKSHELVES themselves are illuminated by a neon sculpture co-authored by Gordon and Katz, titled through hosting we know that guesting is also work (2017). Being both friends and ‘serial collaborators,’ this piece emerged from the ongoing dialogue about agency, labor, and role-play in their collaborative social practices. Its materials are listed as “neon sign, contract, a relationship.”
photos by Ian James