The Private Collection

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What people have said about The Private Collection:


What a thrilling experience! Just finished Sara’s tour of the Private Collection in the BL. It was suspenseful, very engaging and disorienting at the same time: a very strong and weird experience – to be surrounded by the stories, sounds, voices in the midst of the silence of the library, and some very funny bits too…
I strongly recommend it to all fans of the BL.

A library turning into a jungle, an aquarium, a haunted castle. The tour took this familiar second home – my only safe haven in this city – and made it into an Escher painting. I think it was that moment at the 3rd floor, looking through the round window, where the stairways suddenly formed an impossible construction. Things went crazy, and then settled back: but the magic, the over sensitive abundance of sound, vision and touch still lingered. Thanks for bringing this space to life, and filling the café with Cuban music. I’ll be waiting for your letter.

Only superlatives. I loved the story, the way it weaved into and out of the tour. I loved the way the tour drew my attention to the detailed beauty of the building. I loved being led. I loved the occasional confusion (am I going up or down in this lift, have I got the right drawer?). I loved being goaded, challenged (am I allowed to enter the disabled toilet?). I loved the familiar surroundings made unfamiliar (the birds singing in the reading room), and the sensual undercurrent (the nude readers, the leather). I loved the different acoustivs, turning physical space into intimate, mental space. I loved being inside and outside the story as well as the library. But I wanted more. I wanted to be led further, deeper. I wanted it not to stop.
Richard M.

A remarkable experience. Right from the start I was drawn in to an exhilirating atmosphere: unnerving, conspiratorial – yet I felt guided by this voice that seemed to have experienced the library in a new way – certainly not what the common user like myself has experienced. It felt naughty. The story was very personal and yet I also felt part of it – a fine balance that worked beautifully. I loved it.

Really enjoyed this. Felt like I was on a secret mission. Made the connection with Janet Cardiff’s piece, but this found a life of its own. This building is so full of secrets: people, places, histories, the story tapped into that really well. And the layered quality of sounds in your ears and in the space around was very rich and evocative. Excellent. Will recomment it to other users. Thanks.

Audio/British Library happening. Lightly disorientingg guide through the British Library. Sometimes strange, sometimes exciting,  juxtopositions of story, sound, sense of place or displacement. Interesting storyline, appropriate to the mood of night and slight paranoia. Technically excellent. Bravo Sara.

Interesting introduction to the British Library. A total immersion in the library combined with a story which works one to learn more about both the library and the person involved in the story. A great experience.

The illusion worked perfectly. I had a really good time following the voice and instructions. I loved your secret visions of the library and your way of shaking its ghosts. I need another one now, I’m sure you’ll make some new discoveries real or unreal.

What a special walk around this magical place, accompanied by a spooky writer. Very imaginitive and superbly executed. Well done and thank you.

Thank you. I enjoyed my tour especially that I was challenged (and failed) to face my own demons in Humanities 2.

It makes you discover the sharpened air – for this reason it is worth a try to follow the obscure voice…

It ought to be permanent.

Thanks a lot for the tour, I really enjoyed it very much and it gave me the power to go on working on my project. I’ll see the library with different eyes now. Thanks !!!

Very good and well constructed! Thanks.
N, Sound Archive.

That was such fun. A world within the world of the library. Thank you.

So glad I came to this. Really interesting introduction to the building. I really enjoyed looking at the space and listening to the sounds through someone else’s eyes. I’ll always think of this experience when I return here.

Wonderful idea! I shall if time and money allow, duly copy it somewhere, some museum in Istanbul. Thanks for the ride.

Really enjoyed. Very exciting. Wanted to be longer. Thanks.

Yes – longer! More!

Thank you very much for your guided tour which took me to parts of the library I had never been in before. I enjoyed the tour very much.
Gerard, New Zealand.

That was brilliant…it was especially clever of you to incorporate my voice speaking to a friend as a sound effect…Spooky! A new light on an all too familiar place. I will tell everyone to take the tour before it’s over. Thank you very much.

Great! I especially liked the guy talking on his mobile just as the narrative mentioned it. And I have to admit I did reach for my pen when asked!

It was great – but I have to leave in a hurry. I have a flight to catch. My books are in flames. He’s following me, I think.

Very interesting. Sonic environment changes, and bodies too become spectacular.

Experiencing the library rather that just thinking in it – very well done.

Have been coming to the library for what seems like too long. Tender/cruel words of past experience has enlivened my attitude. – Also, I’ve seen the cheeky couples’ smiles leaving the disabled loos….Have you noticed the flushed relief of solo readers exiting their private cubicles…Light relief.
Thank you, Rachel.

Didn’t know what to expect – and was impressed – added a lot of life to the place. I imagine I’ll be feeling a lot more leather as I walk around in the future,
Thanks, David.

A fascinating idea and a whole new way to look at the library – and myself and at the other readers.
Thanks. Amy.

My first visit to the British Library – and what an introduction! Thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Thank you. Sarah.

That was very atmospheric! The days when I avoided dodgy old men and got out Victorian pornography for my MA have come to life! I won’t use the disabled toilet on Floor 2 in the same way. E

A very illicit and textured experience. Especially liked the small enclosed spaces and the leather on the door handles. Dark…Better than TV.

I saw lots of thinks I’d never seen before. Thank you for a few moments of beautifully observed world.
R. M.

That was amazing – very inspiring. Thank you.

Enjoyed the mystery tour, wonder about that ‘killer within’ – the novel seems to have unleashed something.

I did the tour at the end of the afternoon this Friday and wrote some quick comments in the booklet. But I'd like to add to these.

 As it was the end of the day, the recorded announcements of a closing library seemed quite real: sonic fact and fiction started to melt .... What could happen in those semi-private spaces, disabled's toilet; dis-abled telephone boot? But also a dis-abled novel; woman dis-abled by psycho in novel fantasy; hearing voices in the headphones outside the headphone as wishes and dreams mix with reality. I wonder what the library would sound like at night ...

 All in all an interesting analysis of the wild creative process of fiction writing; disembodied thoughts materialised high into the white cloudy cathedral-like space of the monastric library's ceilings.

 Thanks for the trip. And greetings to the nice man behind the lap top who lend me the CD player.

I think I read that it was spooky and it really is – very, very spooky…and absorbing. I loved it. I know this building well and I enjoyed looking at it again with new eyes.

I loved the idea and the familiarity…leather door handles etc. I appreciate how wonderfuly, eerie, special this place is. You asked me to find “that man” and I failed. Sorry! Loved it! Thanks

I really enjoyed the tour. The directions were really good. Most people don’t seem to have any idea how to give good directions and I’m always getting lost. I wish I was going to Cuba.

Exciting way of experiencing the spaces in the library anew, after having some here for several years now. Lots of potential for further development and other projects which I’m looking forward to experienceing in the future! Good voices and sound effects…Great!

Enjoyed the tour (I liked the way sounds were duplicated eg. The lift, doors etc) and liked the excursion in the disabled toilets – will keep a look out for couples.

It’s such a most wonderful experience. Thank you very much. Nico

Really good fun, an escape from an escape and when I return to my dek, one that will leave me looking at people differently and wondering how many of them took the tour and why those that didn’t, didn’t because they should have!! I’m glad I did!

Very much enjoyed this – made me see the BL in a whole new way….esp how much leather there is (eg. Door handles!) – never noticed this before…

Escape from the library – it is possible! Thanks so much, I thought it was great, and sounded great too.