Photographer: Oyamada Kuniya
Photo provided by: Aomori Contemporary Art Center

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「Virtual Bookshelf at Marginal Bookstore」

2023/Mixed media (3D data, scan data of a book spine, QR code, monitor, wood, Raspberry Pi)

Spines of books are lined up on a bookshelf composed of a wooden frame and a monitor. When you scan the QR codes attached to the spines of these books, 3D data of “Marginal Books,” which have been deeply involved with people and are covered with various traces, will be displayed on your smartphone along with the text.

The author engages in an activity called “marginal bookstore,” where marked and stained used books—marginal books—are valued and sold as one-of-a-kind collector's items. This “Virtual Bookshelf” contains 3D scanned data of “marginal books” along with text recorded from interviews with their owners and donors.

Inspired by the tradition of creating mounds or graves to mourn well-used tools in Japan, the author created this work. “Marginal books” with many annotations are never taken back, even by used bookstores, and eventually die out. The books, which have different owners and have been involved in various lives, are lined up next to each other like the bookshelves of a family.

A smartphone that reads QR codes can be a private space for people today. In an information-driven society, it is easy to see similar opinions and grow intolerant of others. The “Virtual Bookshelf” invites people to enter the private space of others and encourages them to imagine various people through books.

In addition to the “Virtual Bookshelf,” this exhibition also features a gacha gacha machine where visitors can purchase “bookmarks” related to items or stories found within the books.

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Artist/researcher, Seira Uchida was born in Saitama Prefecture in 1985. She graduated from the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences' (IAMAS) master’s degree program. She identifies herself as a “bender” in the post-internet era. While incorporating services such as Amazon and YouTube, Uchida questions normative values and narratives. In recent years, based on her research in folklore and beliefs, she has been working on the dissemination of stories and the sharing of memories in the modern age. In recent years, notable exhibitions include "VOCA Exhibition 2023, The Visions of Contemporary Art – Artists of the New Plane” (Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, 2023), “Multilayered Worlds and Places of Reality” (NTT Intercommunication Center [ICC], Tokyo, 2022), and “Virtual Memorial Service” (Aomori Contemporary Art Center [ACAC], Aomori, 2021).

Concept, 3D data production, website production, spine scanning: Seira Uchida

Wooden frame production: Naoya Kato

Wooden frame blueprint: Miki Murakami

Website production contributors: Kazuyuki Miyamoto

Production contributors: HAUS (Hokkaido Artist Union), “Marginal Books” contributors