Powerhouse, 2008

Powerhouse, 2008

Powerhouse (22 mins. 2008) is a time-lapse film with a spoken word sound track, representing the performance of an 8-week long live word association game at Cambridge University Library. The initial word ‘powerhouse’ was displayed above the revolving door in the entrance hall. Free word associations were collected online and onsite, of which the most common response was selected (at set times) for display next, and so on, creating a meandering multi-authored word composition. The University Library is a copyright library, controlling access (women undergraduates were not allowed in on the same terms as men until 1923, some sixty years after women were admitted to the University) and keeping one copy of every book published in the British Isles (from knitting pattern to academic tome) for posterity. The film creates an oblique and incidental portrait, in the form of a spoken soundtrack of free associations derived from its onsite and online users, combined with time-lapse imagery from the imposing library entrance hall.

(technical assistance Dylan Banarse, edited by Tim Sidell, sound design by Nick Ryall)

Powerhouse (film, 22 mins, 2008), clip of first 3 minutes

powerhouse index grab

Powerhouse online word index

UL card

Temporary library card and welcome offer