The opening day for the second iteration of The Library of Unread Books was just like flipping the covers of a familiar novel for the first time–with the same wonders and spectacles, same elements from the prologue of a romantic fiction: the fine alcohol in wine glasses, the fading citrus lights, the fancy clothes and of course, the lovely people. But instead of the first chapter lavishing for the pursuit of romance from people alike, the characters were seeking affair from the unwanted knowledge lulled in the pages of the untouched books. 

Prologue of a 10-Year-Long Project

These books are stacked randomly on tables around the First Coworking Community of First United Building in Escolta, waiting to be noticed. And for the second time, the collection is free again. 

The idea flourished from Singaporean artist, curator and writer Heman Chong– to gather donated books that, for some reasons, are unread by their previous owners and to put them in a temporary library that will be brought to places for the course of 10 years. Disclosing that which people choose not to read, the library traces the extent of unwanted information, resulting to something as wonderful and diverse as the collection.

The Library’s Spoken Preface

Ahead the sobering drinks and the noise from small talks of newly made friends, the room was at peace and only lit by a projector showing who Chong is and his shredded love for spy-themed novels. Musers sat on the floor, on the stairs, some stood up listening to the artist’s exploits, sometimes letting out chuckles.

Heman Chong during his Artist Talk

Before bracing in the First Coworking Community, The Library of Unread Books was first housed at the NTU Center for Contemporary Art in Singapore last 2016. And now, with the help of De la Salle-College of St. Benilde’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila, the project is brought to the Philippines.

From June, MCAD Manila will be adopting the project up until the exhibition’s closing on August 29, 2017, and will then be then moved to other locations right after. However, the answer to where is mostly still unconfirmed. For now, the library is open for everyone who has nothing more but unwavering love for books and a heart for adventures.

The Final Chapter from the Author’s Point of View

Books on the floor at the First Coworking Community

According to Chong, after some 10 years of rounding places and filling shelves, the library is perceived to be part of an institution somewhere as their permanent collection and will be available not only for display but also for reading.

Be a Part of the Growing Glossary

The library is accepting as many as possible honest donations from all over the world. Anyone can be a member of the project only in exchange of an unread book with the vow that it is unread or at least three pages have been. Just approach one of the friendly librarians and offer your book donations.

To visit The Library of Unread Books, follow this schedule:
29 June – 26 August 2017
Tuesdays to Saturdays

5th Floor, First United Bldg, 413 Escolta St,
Binondo, Manila 1006 Philippines

Words by Marisol Gaspar and Kayleen Reyes
Photography by Reinier Abagat

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