Introduction to the Visual Arts

Turning Pages

Blue Banner with "Spring '16" in yellow letters

Marta Troya performing "Wandering Book Club" in the streets of London

Turning Pages

An Art Activity for Art110
by Marta Troya


Human culture always evolves new forms. When you leave your bedroom in your parents house they repurpose it for some new activity. Not a “better” or “worse” activity, but one that fits its moment.

Once the CSULB University Library had books. Once the CSULB Bookstore had books. Today both places “hide” the books. The Library took them off the ground floor and hid them in a remote robot facility. The Bookstore hides them as far back and out of view as possible.

Image of a young girl's room, with a pink bear sitting on the bed
Girl’s Room by Claudio Beck

What new activity replaces you in that bedroom in your parents house?

What new activities replace the books in the Library and Bookstore?

Today the 1st floor of the Library is dedicated to Starbucks and a Computer Lab. The Bookstore sells so many objects with “CSULB” printed on them. Upstairs the Bookstore sells Computers, Guitars, and Greek Accessories. And has some lounge or study space.

Today the Computer Lab in the Library is a very crowded place. But as more and more students get tablets and ultra-portable laptops, we can already imagine a day when the now busy computer lab will be a ghost town.

What will replace the computer lab?


Ping pong tables?

Lee Le & Joan Park looking at books in a bookstore
former Art110 students Lee Le & Joan Park reading Wikis for Dummies


  1. Meet at SOA Gallery Complex
  2. Walk together to the Library
  3. Go up to 2nd Floor Childrens Books
  4. Pick a book, preferably an oversized book
  5. Go down the the Computer Lab waiting area
  6. Sit and read your book
  7. After 3 minutes trade books
  8. Repeat
  9. After 10 minutes leave the Library
  10. Sit on the grass and discuss the activity
  11. Walk together to the Bookstore
  12. Go to one activity: Shopping for CSULB items, Playing guitar, Checking your email in the Computer Store, Studying at the tables.
  13. After 3 minutes go to a different station
  14. After 10 minutes leave the Bookstore
  15. Walk together back to the SOA Galleries
  16. Sit on the grass in front of the SOA Galleries for a final discussion.
a personal library with the books arranged by the colors of the spines
Rainbow of Books by John Nakamura Remy


In addition to the experience of this activity, Marta would like us to think about the nature of documentation:

  • How can we document ephemeral experiences like Turning Pages?
  • Can Words & Pictures capture an experience?
  • Does the style of the words or images matter? For example, a blurred photo is less precise but might capture more of the experience of motion of a dancer, musician, or other active event. A poem might be a less precise description of an event, but it might offer access to the feelings of the art.
  • Can you think of other ways to share an experience with people who weren’t there to share in it live?
  • Does the act of trying to document an experience take you out of the experience? For example if you’re trying to photograph something as it happens, does the camera insert an experiential distance between you and the event?

To try to help consider these ideas, Marta has asked us not to take pictures during the Library session. Instead we will post photographs of it on Flickr and you can download them for use on your blog posts. However you can take pictures during the Bookstore session.

Your Blog Post

  1. Discuss the questions about Documentation above.
  2. Were your experiences of not taking pictures in the Library, and of taking pictures in the Bookstore, different? Describe.
  3. What was your experience of this activity?
  4. Do you have any new insights about the nature of spaces? Or books? Or education?
Marta Troya working at a loom in India
Marta Troya weaving in India


Comments? Questions? What great art did you see, make, or experience today?

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