Barbara Page, “Book Marks: Escapades in the Library of the Mind”

Image List
Book Marks file case
Array of Book Marks cards
Selected Book Marks cards (fiction)
Selected Book Marks cards (non-fiction)
Installation view of Book Marks at Center for Book Arts, NYC. 2011


Barbara Page
Trumansburg, New York


Book Marks:  Escapades in the Library of the Mind
Mixed media on paper, file case
4.5″ x 12.5″ x variable
4.5″ x 12.5″ x 14″

Selections of Book Marks cards may be arranged in various configurations to fit space available.

Imagine a library holding all the significant books you have ever read. Imagine
the catalog for that library. It lives in your memory much as information accessible
through a library catalog system exists in cyberspace. Before card catalogs were
digitized, each library book acquired was registered on three 3 x 5 index cards labeled
with its author, title, publication date, call number, and a brief synopsis. These cards
were filed separately under Author, Title, and Subject in wooden file cabinets for our
convenient access to information, knowledge, and entertainment.
! Book Marks: Escapades in the Library of the Mind is a visual survey of my
reading history. To make physically manifest the library in my mind, I convert library
charge cards into small works of art representing books that have made an impression
on me. I mark them with drawings, rubber-stamping, and collage elements encoding
my memories. The images are intentionally eclectic since every manuscript dictates its
unique personality through style, content, period, and setting. Hundreds of illustrated
cards are filed in my antique two-drawer library case labeled BOOK MARKS. The cards
may be removed and displayed in various configurations, such as by subject or author.
If the cards are arranged in the approximate order that I read the book each represents,
they reflect a pictorial version of my intellectual development in the context of
American culture since WWII.
I have in the past explored a progression through time in other formats. Rock of
Ages, Sands of Time is a museum installation where I depict the history of visible life in
discrete intervals of one million years, each million years on one of 543 contiguous
panels. Books Marks covers the lifespan of just one individual on 543 library cards.