Some Patterns of Current was a choreographic installation made by straybird with Sheila at Hampton Library.  straybird were artists-in-residence at the Library for several months as part of Richmond Borough Arts Service's Dance In Libraries project. The final piece opened on the 8th November 2014 and ran until the 7th December 2014. The works installed included site-based sound; images and sculptural objects centred around the question How Does a Library Move?

As Lucy Cash wrote on the project blog:

"if you look for long enough you begin to see movement in unexpected and overlooked places (or as part of ‘systems’ which are not fixed to a geographical location) ... on the one hand we’ve been thinking about the books and library users as tiny parts of the (body of the) library and looking at how they move, and on the other hand we might begin to think of the library as itself a single book with many pages…"

What was actually installed?

  • A song for John Beard (a previous tenant of the building) was placed in the entrance hall. Text was also arranged on the walls.  
  • Via the use of tiny, hidden and surface vibrating speakers a bookshelf, a mantlepiece and a small desk were encouraged to speak their thoughts (listen to these below).
  • A discarded book was ceremonially burnt, returned to the library and set it in an elevated position.
  • Some images from an early handbook of political gesture were installed into the children’s section of the library. 
  • Altering its scale and orientation, a fragment of the fireplace tile pattern was re-sited so it framed the view through the entrance hall windows.
  • An artist’s talk about the residency and the making of the work was given on 15th November. Audience were invited to shape the talk by requesting a letter between A and Z, each of which had a corresponding footnote that revealed a particular thought or detail behind the work (For example: FLOW, PATTERN; DEER (and HOCKEY); CHOREOGRAPHY; LISTS OF BANNED BOOKS; (THE) BASEMENT; RAY BRADBURY; VIBRATION; NEGOTIATION and TAGGS ISLAND).
  • Particular attention was paid to the work of local prolific writer Winifred Graham (forgotten and no longer stocked in the library) and William Ewart (another previous tenant and campaigner for free Public Libraries). 
  • An Index was designed to help visitor's navigate the installation.

For more information on the project take a look at the straybird blog

Photography by Tricia de Courcy Ling


Lovely installation – subtle yet brings out curiosity in the visitor. It made me look anew at views, pictures and spaces. Thank you.
— Visitors Comments book
I felt connected to a place I’ve never visited; engaged with layers of histories and conceptions.
— Visitors Comments book
Very thought-provoking – makes me connect with the library, books, stories / lives. And the transient nature of it all. The debt to trees for paper…I wish the writing / stencils on the walls could remain….
— Visitors comments book