DIVIDERS by Mark Pawson
Over the last couple of years I've been gradually organizing my books,
a collection accumulated over a period of 30 years, they're stored on
various shelves and bookcases throughout the flat and some of them
had until recently remained boxed up since I moved house 8 years ago.
I used to know which books I had.
Then I thought that I knew what I had.
And then I realised that I no longer knew what I had.
This occured when I discovered a copy of Flux Paper Events by George
Maciunas (1976) which I had completely forgotten about and had no
memory of where or when I'd bought it. If I couldn't remember such an
inimitable book then it was definitely time to take action and develop
a system for locating books quickly and easily.
So began the process of moving books around, from room to room,
shelf to shelf, out of boxes into bookcases. Grouping, sorting, finding
affinities, embracing unlikely partnerships, reuniting friends, preserving
juxtapositions and creating clusters that could exist nowhere else.
I started slipping blank sheets of A4 160gsm coloured card, between
(non colour-coded) sections. As themes emerged, sections grew and
certain writers, artists and publishers deserved their own dividers,
names, titles and descriptions were added, handwritten on the protuding
3-4 cm of the cards. As you'll see, these section titles range all the way
from ultra specific to very general.
The divider cards started on the red Billy bookcase in the bedroom,
spreading to the brown industrial steel shelving and greenish wooden
bookshelves, then continued onto the greenish shelf units in the hallway
and into the living room, onto the red Billy bookcase and even inside
the glass-doored Billy display cabinet. The divider titles have evolved,
been crosssed out, changed and amended. Sometimes, in bed at night,
with bookshelves in my line of sight, I've thought of sections to add or
subdivisions to make and then written a couple new dividers the next
This set of 82 dividers, is printed from scans of the original, often hastily
written cards and is unedited apart from the removal of several duplicates.
Mark Pawson 4 November 2015
P.S. There's 1408 books on the shelves, yes, I've read that Walter Benjamin
essay, no, my record collection is not filed in alphabetical order and yes,
there are still unopened boxes of books in cupboards and under the bed.