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Art installation Pantheon by Henk Schut (2022)

Come, see and experience this brand new art installation on campus: Pantheon. The question is not what you look at, but what you see.... This work by artist Henk Schut is part of the University Library's project Omboeken.

The inspiration for this installation are the personal stories by VU students, researchers, lecturers and staff, who tell about a book that inspires them. On the outside, the art work looks like a circular bookcase, but it also features an entrance to the inside. Once inside, the installation offers an environment that you can retreat to. An 'in-between space', where you can listen and open up to the stories by (fellow) students and researchers and the accompanying world of sound. At intervals voices will chime in, telling about a specific book, at other times, you will hear an emerging audio world. This constantly changing, varying soundscape stimulates the imagination. On leaving the installation you may see the campus in a new light...

How did we select the books for this artwork?

Books and magazine bindings make up a large part of this artwork. Some books are part of the shell, others can even be read or taken away. Books as building material and as a source of inspiration - two ways in which little-read books are given a second life and contribute to a lively and inspiring campus.

In the coming years, many other works of art, book walls and mini-libraries on the campus will be filled with books and magazine bindings. Of course, we don't just pull them from the stacks at random. Based on the knowledge and experience of our library staff, we have laid down a series of conditions that books must meet before they can be removed from the collection, following a number of pilots.

Firstly, we only remove books from the collection that are no longer relevant to current educational and research needs at the VU. New publications, examination literature and recently borrowed books will obviously remain in the collection. Each collection specialist determines for themselves what ‘new’ and ‘recent’ means for their collection. Within the humanities, books published years or even decades ago may still be very relevant, while a medical book may quickly become outdated. In addition, we adhere to local and national preservation policies, whereby we retain books from donations and books of which only one other copy can be found in the Netherlands. When in doubt, the faculty in question is consulted.

Although this selection is, to a large extent, made digitally, each book is manually checked for special characteristics by at least one librarian before it is permanently removed from the collection. In this way we ensure that all books are treated with the utmost care.