Slender Human Islands

Ruth Maclennan

Over twelve hours thirty-six readers sat, stood, and walked, around Granary Square reading aloud. Some passers-by listened for a moment, slowing but not stopping, others stayed with the readers for long periods, hearing fragments miraculously aligned with the environment around them, as if these writings transcended their historical condition to speak of contemporary realities. The fiction and non-fiction books found affinities by being set in London, or an urban island that could be mistaken for London, and describe moments in the history of modernity and the voices disempowered by its physical and technological transformations.

Ruth was commissioned in 2015 as part of Unannounced Acts of Publicness with support from Argent.

Reading extracts from:

Oroonoko, Aphra Behn, 1688
The Condition of the English Working Class, Friedrich Engels, 1845
Tainted Love, Stewart Home, 2005
The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guinn, 1974
Beyond Black, Hilary Mantel, 2005
London Labour and the Working Poor, Henry Mayhew, 1851
C, Tom McCarthy, 2010
How To Be Both, Ali Smith, 2014
The Girls of Slender Means, Muriel Spark, 1963
Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf, 1925