stephen connolly // films


the reading room, 2'45" 16mm/video 2002

the reading room traces the movement of visitors to the British Museum reading room through an entire working day in under three minutes and in silence.

The film is an exploration of the changing place of the archive. Using an elevated camera, a single ‘master’ shot film reveals the layout of the library as a panoptican, a structure envisaged as an ideal prison by Jeremy Bentham (1785).

Bentham described his design as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.”

the reading room has screened as a cinema and as a gallery work.

play vimeo video info sheet (pdf)

the reading room 3 mins 2002