Johanna Himmelsbach:
The library as a hypnotist

I spent a month in an observatory of change. On the top of the forest, the library sees: snow rain, and light, falling on the adjacent trees. The trees show up in, and on, our screens. The various-in-size screens are moved across the building, taken from the rooms to the desks to the shared spaces. A red kite glides by. I’m told they’re common in Zürich. Also there. The hands, are touching the screens_the books_the glasses_the coffee cups. At dusk, the main window looks just like a big blue screen. Branches on grey skies, on blue skies and the dropper cables, are happy or sad. Winter is not ending. I spend the night with a robot at Sitterwerk, where all books can touch, where all ideas can touch. The books are rearranged frankly. I look at lines by Dubuffet and Sophie Taeuber-Arp. In other books. At lines used to illustrate writing about asemic writing. I see quite some lines. A photograph of a work by Roman Signer suggests the possibility of bringing together two remote places, Säntis und Bodensee. The window frost is melting. The group smokes cigarets. Every day. Breakfast together.The kite flies by, every day. Like they do in Zürich. An old project about time-space synesthesia resurfaces. I ask them to make sketches on A4s. How do you see the calendar? Is it in front of you or is it around you? The month pass by. We enter, sit and leave the library. I am intensely surveying the circulation of the space within itself within myself. 

The library as a hypnotist is a project that opens spaces in the Bibliothek Andreas Züst. I spent four weeks collecting and associating images taken in and outside the library. The photographs are used as a material and together they form a space. Each space is printed and becomes a 24 pages publication, big format. I call them immersive spaces. The four publications take different directions and assume temporary names: taking a line for a walk, extramental in the woods, a mountain melting in a lake, longing for smoking

During the residency, I initiate a collaboration with a hypnotherapist around the possibility of visiting my immersive spaces. We’re trying it out. It’s the first time. We end up visiting two. I’ll do it again. 

Johanna Himmelsbach is a graphic designer and artist based in Amsterdam. Her editorial practice is informed by spatiality—both physical and mind spaces, and explores how they visually come together. While she considers ‘image editing’ as a craft and a subject in itself, she mediates on the notion of image as a feeling, a ‘visual idea’ that travels through space and across mediums. 

Visuals from extramental in the woods (working title), publication, 24 pages, 325×460 mm, Bibliothek Andreas Züst, 2023

Text: Johanna Himmelsbach
April 2023