A Little Dust Whispered

Rachel Lichtenstein, artist and writer, was the British Library's first Pearson Creative Research Fellow. Over a period of 18 months Rachel worked on her own investigative arts project, based on a selection of original handwritten manuscripts from the library's collection. Her work culminated in a photographic installation and a book entitled Add. 17469: A Little Dust Whispered.

The project grew out of Rachel's own fascination with a variety of texts, ranging from 15th century astrological charts to 19th century shopping lists. She was attracted to the mysterious sensuality of the objects: the pungent smell of paper, the marks made by finger prints or mildew, details that revealed the passing of time or the person behind the text. She selected small sections of these texts to be photographed and enlarged. During the course of the project she recorded her research methods and findings in a handwritten journal.

Rachel's installation, displayed in the Library's entrance hall, pieced together twenty-five of these photographed fragments, and invited staff members and visitors to submit written responses to any of the images. A number of these responses appear alongside Rachel's jottings in her published book Add. 17469: A Little Dust Whispered. This website presents an assortment of extracts from her book and reveals the myriad ways in which texts and creative research can inspire and intrigue.