Dispatches from the Mountaineering Library

Dispatches from the Mountaineering Library

Performance Sculpture.

In 2012 Kate Hammersley embarked upon a journey cycling a mountain sculpture around the streets of Oxford.  ‘Dispatches from the Mountaineering Library’ forms part of an Arts Council England funded project aimed at creating access to places not usually accessible to the public.  Hammersley focussed her research on the Bodleian Library obtaining a readers card and swearing the Bodleian oath, before discovering the Mountaineering Library three floors below the streets of Oxford.  Here in this seemingly airless subterranean room in the middle of a notoriously flat Oxford was one of the UK’s largest collections of mountaineering books.  In response to the collection Hammersley, began making paper sculptures of fictional mountain ranges, creating pristine environments from paper and starch.  The intimate scale of the work humanises the vastness of the mountains.  The mountain sculptures were brought to street level and cycled around a route beginning and ending at the entrance of the Mountaineering Library, in essence bringing the mountains to the people.  This time-based performance sculpture contrasts the millions of years of continual action needed to create mountains with the Anthropocene, a relatively short geological time period referencing humankind’s activity on the planet.