The Bookworm

2012, Performance/video. Duration: 10mins.
Shortlist 5, Swiss Cottage Library, curated by Shape Arts.

Apparently there isn't really a 'bookworm', but the Death Watch Beetle, Xestobium Rufovillosum, is known to eat through books. Thinking about Katerina Fritsch's commission for the Fourth Plinth at Trafalgar Square (a large blue sculpture of a cockerel), and concerned about threatened library closures in London, I decided to make a formal link to another outsized, blue animal/public sculpture.

I imagined a B-Movie about a monstrous blue bookworm, wriggling down a high street and into a library. Dressed accordingly, I was filmed (by Rachel Dowle) crawling from Camden Arts Centre to Swiss Cottage Library. Once inside the library, the Bookworm feasted on books.

A resulting film was projected inside the library gallery as part of the Shortlist 5 exhibition. Midway through the private view, 'Bookworm' invaded the space unannounced, and made efforts to block its projected image. Using a toy Uzi machine gun, and later a hammer and nails, it pretend shot at the audience, banged worm-holes into the projection wall, and performed several mock self-crucifixions.