Created by artist Alinah Azadeh with inspired design engineering by Willow Winston and Terence Williams, the installation takes the form of a set of 12 two-metre high bookshelves arranged in a circle with writing desks attached. Following the ancient ritual of bibliomancy (the art of divining with books) visitors to the installation are invited to select a book at random and pick a line or verse in order to learn a truth or simply inspire the imagination. Writing their discovered text onto a giant length of ribbon, the wisdom seeker cranks up the scroll by means of a medieval-style pulley which spools through the bookshelf like flying poetry. Like some sort of primitive ipod, the Bibliomancer's Dream shuffles words and sentences around the library, allowing others to share the magic of randomly created poetry.
Used by many cultures throughout history and each with a preferred text by which to practice the tradition, bibliomancy has long been viewed as a way of seeking guidance or answering a question. The Ancient Greeks used Homer's Iliad, letting the book fall open to select a page and Virgil's Aeneid was a popular choice during the medieval period. The Bibliomancer's Dream will hold hundreds of books - from mystical Persian poetry by Rumi and Hafiz to inspirational children's classics like Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are and the magical adventures of Harry Potter - as well as sacred texts, children's picture books, poetry from around the world and tales of mythology.