The Lost Art of Reading aloud

18:16 Wednesday 5th June 2019 

My first day at Dove Arts was spent alone in a Tree house. I was reading ‘An Amazing Space’.

This book had been commissioned a few years ago to document the history of the Dove Studios.  I am particularly interested in the many communities and craft skills they have passed through this space in the last 49 years. You can read more about Dove Arts on their own blog here https://dovearts.wordpress.com/

Some more information about the Dove can be found on Somerset Art Works website https://somersetartworks.org.uk/2015/09/amazing-space-a-celebration-of-the-dove/

With nobody around, in a quiet corner of the field I decided to read the book aloud.  Even as a child in school I’ve never liked reading in my head, it’s something I find difficult.  My head is already busy with lots of thoughts.  When I try reading in my head, these thoughts form a competition to who will get my attention and the book I’m reading always loses. It’s often pushed out by irrelevant passing thoughts.  When I’m reading aloud however, the book becomes a firm winner.  And also able to use articulate the words out loud using an expression which helps me understand and engage with the text.

IMG_20190605_130531.jpg

 

Reflecting on this, brought me back to a piece of work by Bram Arnold Thomas.  During Plymouth Art Weekender in 2017, I performed as part of a work by Bram Arnold Thomas titled Park Bench Reader.  During this performance, I sat on a public bench in the middle of Plymouth City center and read a book aloud.  A random member of the public sat and joined me, and I read them the book to them.  We also talked in between about the book which the gentleman happened to have at home himself.  In the image, you can see myself and the gentleman reading in Plymouth. This was a very unusual experience for me to read aloud but it resulted in a meaningful exchange with a member of the public I wouldn’t usually have spoken to.

park bench reader
Park Bench Reader (2017)  Bram Arnold Thomas (Image: Rod Gonzalez)

Here is an article I read today on their New York Times website titled Some Thoughts on the Lost Art of Reading Aloud. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/16/opinion/16sat4.html

I have also re-read some text on Bram Arnold Thomas’ very interesting project; http://www.bramthomasarnold.com/index.php?/project/the-park-bench-reader/

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