The Book Funeral seeks to humanise the books of the Central Saint Martins library by giving them a send-off befitting of a loved one. Through the funeral, mourners are expected to re-evaluate their treatment of books albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

The Book Funeral was one of 28 projects out of 1400+ in Central Saint Martins to receive a NOVA awards 2018 nomination.

This project started with a desire to improve the general quality of life amongst the books in the CSM library. Through several conversations with the librarians, it was made clear that a notable minority of students have been mistreating the books they borrow, often to the point of death. What I found most interesting about these book “deaths” was the element of humour and creativity which surrounded them. For example; Skin by Heidi Hatry was returned in a moist damp state with garlic skin stuck to its back cover.

As darkly twisted as murders like these were, one cannot deny the ironic beauty of the book’s demise. In light of this, it is not difficult to see that death comes to all things, book-like or otherwise. This led me to wonder; if these books were harmed as if they were people, perhaps we could celebrate their life in the same manner.

With the cooperation of the CSM library staff, several staff members of the university, and a couple of my peers, a funeral service was organised. Slow marches, eulogies, librarian priests, organ music, roses, candles, memorial cards, headstones and more, took place at the event. With hope, students will be able to reflect on their behaviours with the beloved books of the library.
The Librarians as the patron saints of the CSM library. These portrait illustrations were done with their consent.
click to view headstones
Credits:
Art Direction, Illustration, Design and Copywriting:
Kenn Lam
Filming:
Liza Gusarova
Lawrence Scanlon
Audio Recording:
Dilruba Tayfun
Acting:
Andreas Hansson
Video Editing and Production Assistant:
Anatoly Shabalin
Thank you for laying to rest our dear books.
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