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The Park Bench Reader

This performative piece saw the artist taking to the benches of Armada Way to read from some of our most beloved works of literature; reading aloud to strangers, to friends and sometimes no one.

Image courtesy of Plymouth Art Weekender

Artist: Dr Bram Thomas Arnold
Category: Temporary
Date: 2017
Location: View on our Public Art Map [desktop and tablet; requires Google sign-in]
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Commissioner: Visual Arts Plymouth
Producers: Plymouth Art Weekender
Partners: Arts Council England, Horizon, Plymouth Culture, Plymouth University, Plymouth City Council


Project Description

The Park Bench Reader was a performance that followed a simple set of rules;

  • Choose a work of classic English literature.
  • Choose a park bench in your locality and photograph it.
  • Use the photograph as a poster to advertise your performance, also announcing the time, date and title to be read.
  • At the announced time, sit down and commence to read to audience aloud from your chosen novel.

The performance was a move against the quickening pace of society, the emergence of smart phones and the phrase ‘screen time’ and how this is eating into our society.

Image courtesy of VASW, photographer credit Rod Gonzalez

In an interview with literary works Arnold stated that among other reasons the purpose of the work was to ‘do something romantic, and whimsical, seemingly futile and yet full of hope.’

About the Artist

Bram Thomas Arnold is a multidisciplinary artist; performance, drawing, installation and academia. He takes inspiration walking through environments, influenced by the ecology and creating romantic outcomes.