The Swiss Federal Office of Culture holds an annual competition that recognizes excellence in book design and production. An international five-member jury selects a set of publications, the so-called Most Beautiful Swiss Books, from a broad range of submissions.
For 2016, twenty-four books were chosen and in 2017, seventeen students at the Rhode Island School of Design analyzed these award-winning publications. Rather than assigning superlatives, they have emphasized the experience of reading itself: of what it means to read and to be read.
"We paired books with chairs the way one pairs wine with food"
In a conventional exhibition space, visitors simply observe objects. We are asked to look, but not touch. However, this exhibition invites you to sit, touch, and read through the books. The space and everything within it is activated through collective acts of reading.
READING READING prompts multiple interpretations of reading as both verb and noun: reading as an active process, as a public occasion, as a both tangible and abstract concept to be examined. A reader reads not only text and image, but also the context and physical materials of a publication. It is through this intentional experience that one can appreciate the value of a book. What are you reading, and how are you reading it?