"You Xin" Second Hand Book Storm

Aki Lee, Virginia Lui

The project 有心 “You Xin” (mindfulness) is a reaction to the disappearance of secondhand bookstores in the city of Shenzhen, China. Through small gestures of mindfulness, public interventions and social actions, the project aims to restore appreciation and value towards used books.

Over the past ten years, the number of remaining second-hand bookstores in Shenzhen China have decreased to just a few. The disappearance of second-hand bookstores is symptomatic of the setbacks that have arisen from high-speed urbanism and overproduction. The project “You Xin”(mindfulness) is a performance, gesture and social action aiming at restoring appreciation and value towards second-hand books. Meanwhile, as a gesture of “mindfulness” towards used materials, “You Xin” envisions future neighbourhood venues as multifunctional shared spaces where informal learning and exchange could take place.

In collaboration with International Enclave Bookstore and Shenzhen Reading Club, a book swap project was installed and carried out as a long-term reading project in Nantou Urban Village. By swapping one book for another, school kids in the neighbourhood are invited to exchange their used books and feel free to read in the bookstore. Meanwhile, each book has a bookcard attached which contains the story of the book owner and reader. Thus, serendipity is brought to the front while reading and exchanging books as well as through the act of continuous storytelling.

Winter Semester 2017
Shenzhen (China)
Aki Lee
Virginia Lui