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You are invited…

Posted on: 17 September 2016 by John


You are invited to 100 Libraries, 99 Books, an independent Nuit Blanche Toronto 2016 project by John Shipman presented the Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverbs, from sunset to sunrise on 1–2 October at St. Matthew's United Church, a heritage church and a propitious location given the use of modified church plans in the design of the medieval chain libraries.

For directions and more:


Special books & memorable libraries

Posted on: 23 August 2016 by John


A post related to the installation 100 Libraries, 99 Books:

The library that stands out the most for me was a nameless wall of books in my junior high school in Endiang, Alberta. It doesn't exist anymore and the kids from our area of Alberta have to bus to the larger centres for school, over an hour ride, one-way, for some of them. It was the maroon cover that did it for me. The memorable book was The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. • GS

Probably my favorite library of all time is the Greater Victoria Public Library, Main Branch in Victoria, BC. The atrium at the library was a very special place where I would sit and meditate and play my guitar for hours and hours when I was homeless. • DJ

The library at University College at University of Toronto. When I attended UofT in the late 80s this library was always almost empty. It was quiet, had large wooden tables to work at, and a long series of arched windows, so full of natural light. Working there always made the work seem more pleasant. There was always a very large dictionary at the front of the library on it's own little table, which gave it such importance...and being before google it was most useful! I wonder if it is still there? • TV

The best time I ever had at a library was at the beautiful Morrison Library Reading Room at UC Berkeley in 1984. I was in Berkeley for a friend's wedding, but took Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus (in Greek) to read as it was part of a big exam I was studying for. I had never looked at it before, but found I could read through it pretty well. This was partly due to the Greek, much less challenging than most tragedy I'd read, and partly because the air on the Berkeley campus was scented with eucalyptus, and the reading room had big comfy chairs (at that time floral chintz) and light wood panelling and made me happy, and I had all day just to read and think. In fact, that day was my favourite moment as a student, just Aeschylus and me in conversation in a pretty place. • LW

The obvious one for me is the Library of Celsus in Ephesus. It is a most stunning, almost imposing facade. I've visited it many times, since I was a child, and it is a very emotional place to be. The structure, of course, is ancient, and what is striking is that the reverence given to a library at that time. It's a powerful, beautiful and breathtaking facade. And that today one can still experience it! You can envision the scrolls that would have been housed there. The fact that it housed scrolls versus books also is interesting. • TV

If you'd like to contribute your stories about a book and-or a library, please email me — John

Three new slideshows

Posted on: 9 July 2016 by John


John Shipman, Dried Beans Models of the Universe, 2014

A(nother) look at my three most recent installations:

• Ten Models of the Universe slideshow · 2013
• Dried Beans Models of the Universe slideshow including the Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverbs Beanetary System Model of the Universe · 2014
• The Great Journey of a Lifetime slideshow · 2015

Equipment tests · Marcelle St-Amant

Another look at the universe

Posted on: 4 July 2016 by John


John Shipman, reading The Endless Proverb aloud from the pulpit, 2013

Slideshow · Photos from Ten Models of the Universe presented by the Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverbs and featuring The Endless Proverb (2013).

Reading The Endless Proverb aloud from the church pulpit · Marcelle St-Amant

A library implies, a good book is…

Posted on: 22 June 2016 by John


Victor Hugo on libraries, Milton on books, Chicago IL


On north wall of the stairwell leading to what once was the Chicago Public Library's Main Reading Room with its magnificent Tiffany glass dome is this quotation from À qui la faute? by Victor Hugo (1872) in glass mosaic tiles — A library implies an act of faith which generations, still in darkness hid, sign in their night in witness of the dawn — and on the east wall as well above the door leading to the New York Public Library's Main Reading Room, are these words from Milton's Areopagitica (1644) opposing licensing and censorship — A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.

100 Libraries, 99 Books  ·  October 2016

The library is now the Chicago Cultural Center.

aaah ooouah eeeaaaah yaaaaaah

Posted on: 26 May 2016 by John


A sampling of StoryRope tags from The Great Journey of a Lifetime

It's hard to say what I have learned from all this, but I have noticed a certain ease I have begun to experience in my daily life.
• Philip Glass, 77 · 2014

There is no doubt in my mind that I have found out how (at 40) to say something in my own voice; and that interests me so that I feel I can go ahead without praise.
• Virginia Woolf, 40 · 1922

I am getting old—going on 14. I get to feeling rather old when I recollect that in a very few years I must be earning my own living.
• Marion Taylor, 13 · 1915

You have probably forgotten the sad young fool who bid you farewell on the cloudy morning of the 23rd, but he, a victim of youth's idealism, has not forgotten you. You are hard to forget.
• Robert Kroetsch, 20 · 1947

aaah ooouah eeeaaaah yaaaaaah…
• Gabriel Aurél Rose Sarkozy, 8 months · 2015

I learned a lot during the period of her illness. As my mother told me one day before she went into the hospital for the first time, "You may not always hear me, but you will always feel my answer."
• Lori, 15 · 2013

I am afraid of getting older. I am afraid of getting married. Spare me from cooking three meals a day—spare me from the relentless cage of routine and rote.
• Sylvia Plath, 17 · 1949

I'm just not the least bit concerned with being 99. I don't like old people. I don't think about it. Yes, you can say I'm 99. I'm not 99 to me. I don't know what age I am to me. This bundle of energy that I am… Interested in being honest, interested in bringing beauty into the world, interested in helping suffering in the world. That is the bundle of what I am.
• Beatrice Wood, 99 · 1992

I became hardened in the way doctors have to become hardened, but now I am reaching the end of my career this detachment has started to fade.
• Henry Marsh, 63 · 2013

I've always been a rebel. I refuse to give up.
• Patricia Goss, 95 · 2015

Dance tunes are always right: I love you body and soul—and I suppose body means that I want to touch you and be in bed with you, and I suppose soul means that I can hear you and see you and love you in every single, single thing in the whole world asleep or awake.
• Dylan Thomas, 22 · 1936

We arrived here on the 12th of February and should be on the front line until the 30th of March. That's a long time to live in a trench looking out on to a few trees, razor wire and loads of dirt. The dust here is crazy.
• Shane Brennan, 28 · 2002

Why should any of these boys die, sometimes it seems to me that they are the lucky ones and that we who are left behind are the ones who are unhappy and lonely. Practically all my friends have gone now…
• Joan Hatfield, 24 · 1944

• Emilie Shipman, 1 · 1981

Tullius to his wife, and her father to his dearest daughter, and Cicero to his mother and sister, sends warm greetings. I think, my darlings, you should carefully consider and reconsider whether to stay in Rome...
• Marcus Tullius Cicero, 57 · 49 BC

I ask nothing—I have placed myself before you to be judged as a woman whether I deserve your pity or contempt—I have another object in view—it is to come to you just as I am a poor Slave Mother—not to tell you what I have heard but what I have seen…
• Harriet A. Jacobs, 44 · 1857

So again tonight—I don't know if it's woman or little girl—I am mostly both—I want to put my arms around you—kiss you—let you kiss me—It's all very quiet— what I want is very quiet—It's great to trust anyone enough to let them kiss you.
• Georgia O'Keeffe, 30 · 1917

StoryRope re-purposed

Posted on: 21 May 2016 by John


What do you do with the Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverb's spool of 600-feet of bright yellow 1.5-inch line used for The Great Journey of a Lifetime: Hold onto the Rope's ten-decade long StoryRope?

Give it to Toronto Brigantine — a not-for-profit dedicated to developing practical skills, environmentally sustainable practices and a greater appreciation of the Great Lakes' marine heritage — to replace their worn mooring lines.

Toronto Brigantine invites you to climb aboard STV Pathfinder and Playfair, explore the brigantines and learn more about TBI's programs for ages 13-18. For directions and more information, visit

Repurposing a StoryRope, May 2016

Photo · John and Liam Fraser, captain of STV Pathfinder, May 2016

EPMOU in the New York Review of Books

Posted on: 14 May 2016 by John


EPMOU by John Shipman in the New York Review of Books, May 12, 2016 arts issueLook for the Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverb's The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe by John Shipman — a limited-run domestic physics unified in one sentence that is 10 hours, 10,000 lines and 10,000 proverbs long — in the independent press listings on pages 64–65 (pdf)) in the 12 May 2016 arts issue of the New York Review of Books.

Why should theoretical physicists have all the fun?

For more info, please contact John.


The Endless Proverb by John Shipman in The Rochester Review, April-May 2016Look for The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe in the Independent Press Listings in The New York Review of Books — the 12 May 2016 arts issue's now on sale at your favorite bookstores and newsstands and also available online and at libraries — and in the Books & Recordings section of the April–May 2016 issue of The Rochester Review.

Pages 62–63 of The Rochester Review


Reading the just-published The Endless Proverb by John Shipman, December 2015

Celebrating the Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverbs' publication of the 300-page, limited-run print version of The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe by John Shipman with a group reading and small party in Toronto for subscribers and friends.

To reserve / order your copies, please contact John.

Photo · Emilie Shipman-Wight