Because, The Night – A second hand bookshop for insomniacs by Heman Chong

Because, the Night
A second hand bookshop for insomniacs
Heman Chong

10pm – 4am
9 – 11 & 16 – 18 November 2017
72-13, Singapore

Based on a list of 50 books culled from a series of informal conversations (touching on inequality, racism, homophobia, overpopulation, forced migration, exploitation of labor, overconsumption, climate change, etc) with friends and strangers on Facebook, ‘Because, the Night’ is a non-profit, second-hand bookshop produced by artist Heman Chong that will inhabit 72-13 for six nights in November 2017. It is open between 10 pm to 4 am; a space built for people who can’t sleep at night, a temporary home for insomniacs. Books include ‘Men Explain Things to Me’ by Rebecca Solnit, ‘2666’ by Roberto Bolaño, ‘The Bluest Eye’ by Toni Morrison, ‘Archaeologies of the Future’ by Frederic Jameson and many, many more.

‘Because, The Night’ extends and follows a thread in Chong’s work that he has woven since 1997. His concerns about the production and distribution of knowledge has brought him to produce exhibitions, conferences, books; playing roles outside of the artist— as curator, writer and of course, the bookseller. The bookshop is a confluence of many things. It is at once a depository of ideas, but at the same time, a social space in which individuals exchange ways of reading and seeing ideas. Chong is particularly interested in the display and the trading of second hand books, especially books that have been rejected from public and personal libraries; objects discarded and then later discovered by other readers. The book as a object passed from one hand to another, one eye to the next.

In conjunction with this bookshop with strange opening hours, Chong will show two sculptural works from his oeuvre. Firstly, a large selection of ‘Stacks’, a series he is well known for. They are free standing compositions involving books and various glass receptacles (drinking cups, perfume bottles, etc) are stacked to form fragile and intriguing associations with each other. A new series ‘After Hours’ accompanies both the bookshop and the stacks as large, hulking sentinels in the space. These sculptures are fashioned after open air stalls one would encounter in shopping centers or street markets where an entire stall selling all sorts of things are bound up in cloth after closing hours.

The multi-faceted works of Chong is located at the intersection between image, performance, situations and writing. He has recently produced a series of interconnected exhibitions located in Art Sonje Center (Never, A Dull Moment, 2015), South London Gallery (An Arm, A Leg and Other Stories, 2015) and Rockbund Art Museum (Ifs, Ands, Or Buts, 2016). He is the co-director and founder (with Renée Staal) of ‘The Library of Unread Books’ which has been installed in NTU Center for Contemporary Art in Singapore, The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) in Manila and will be traveling to Casco Projects in Utrecht and Ilham Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. He is currently working on a novel ‘The Book of Drafts’ which will be published by Polyparenthesis in 2019.

Full list of books

1. 2666 / Roberto Bolano
2. Never let me go / Kazuo Ishiguro
3. The Sirens of Titan / Kurt Vonnegut
4. The Road / Cormac McCarthy
5. W, or the Memory of Children / Georges Perec
6. Seeing / Jose Saramago
7. Blindness / Jose Saramago
8. The Savage Detectives / Roberto Bolano
9. The Rings of Saturn / W.G. Sebald
10. The Dispossessed / Ursula K. Le Guin
11. Written on the Body / Jeanette Winterson
12. The Handmaid’s Tale / Margaret Atwood
13.The Origins of Totalitarianism / Hannah Arendt
14. Men Explain Things to Me / Rebecca Solnit
15. A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern-day Iraq / Fernando Baez
16. Wanderlust / Rebecca Solnit
17. The Man in the High Castle / Philip K. Dick
18. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth / Isabel Greenberg
19. One Hundred Nights of Hero / Isabel Greenberg
20. Foe / J.M. Coetzee
21. Elizabeth Costello / J.M. Coetzee
22. Under the Skin / Michel Faber
23. Why This World : A Biography of Clarice Lispector / Benjamin Moser
24. The Hour of the Star / Clarice Lispector
25. The Golden Notebook / Doris Lessing
26. The Bluest Eye / Toni Morrison
27. Woman at Point Zero / Nawal El Saadawi
28. Woman on the Edge of Time / Marge Piercy
29. Archaeologies of the future / Frederic Jameson
30. The Atrocity Exhibition / J.G. Ballard
31. The Female Man / Joanna Russ
32. The Catch / Kenzaburō Ōe
33. The Woman in the Dunes / Kōbō Abe
34. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit / Jeanette Winterson
35. Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran / Shahrnush Parsipur
36. Mrs Dalloway / Virginia Woolf
37. To the lighthouse / Virginia Woolf
38. Island of a Thousand Mirrors / Nayomi Munaweera
39. The Good Terrorist / Doris Lessing
40. I love Dick / Chris Kraus
41. Aliens and Anorexia / Chris Kraus
42. Torpor / Chris Kraus
43. Summer of Hate / Chris Kraus
44. Gilgi / Irmgard Keun
45. A Train of Powder / Rebecca West
46. The Gulag Archipelago / Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
47. V For Vendetta / Alan Moore
48. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle / Haruki Murakami
49. The Last Thing He Wanted / Joan Didion
50. A Field Guide to Getting Lost / Rebecca Solnit

 


Heman Chong is a Singaporean artist whose work is located at the intersection between image, performance, situations and writing. He has recently produced a series of interconnected exhibitions located in Art Sonje Center (Never, A Dull Moment, 2015), South London Gallery (An Arm, A Leg and Other Stories, 2015) and Rockbund Art Museum (Ifs, Ands, Or Buts, 2016). He is the co-director and founder (with Renée Staal) of ‘The Library of Unread Books’ which has been installed in NTU Center for Contemporary Art in Singapore, The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) in Manila and will be traveling to Casco Projects in Utrecht and Ilham Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. He is currently working on a novel ‘The Book of Drafts’ which will be published by Polyparenthesis in 2019.

 

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