One of the great joys offered by an old library is stepping through the doors and being greeted by an overwhelming sense of stillness. Endless stories exist between the covers resting on the shelves but, until you crack open a title and start to read, it's blissfully oh so quiet.
Bristol Central Library is currently celebrating a milestone 400 years of service, and to mark the occasion the site is playfully disturbing the peace: for the next three months, visitors will be greeted by Book Hive, an interactive, animatronic installation that makes novels come to life.
The modular sculpture was built by the robotic-loving local art group Rusty Squid. They installed motion-detecting sensors above the set-up which monitor how people are engaging with the display, then change the movement to correspond with the folks in real time.
The dramatic teaser clip below ratchets up the tension with a moody score and creaky sound effects, making the whole thing seem a bit more like the start of some kind of literary horror film.
In reality, it's meant to be more imagination-booster than nightmare fuel—a kind of physical representation of the power of books to move you. Watching them open and close is like trying to discern a secret message, and I think I might have figured it out. They're all saying: "Read Me." [Faith is Torment]