An ageless, gender-fluid, sprawling creature – Fluffy, known to scientists as Fluffiella Chimaerica – that lives in libraries, eats books and digests them into knowledge through its many fuzzy burrows, took over the premises of Atopos Contemporary Visual Culture in Athens in 2018 and the Arnolfini Centre of Contemporary Arts in Bristol in 2019. With islands of pillow fur, slick vinyl and a cast of monstrous beings – the Dragon Princess, the Hairy Fairy, the Bearded Beauty, and more – the cuddly beast wants to make new friends, find food and seek love, hugs and tenderness along the way. This participatory installation space/ subversive library welcomes and allows interaction and asks questions about that. What are the boundaries of intimacy with Fluffy, and what touch and engagement requires consent? How do you encounter the creature and others in the installation space with an open mind and heart? Can we create new narratives together through feminist and queer notions of monstrosity in storytelling?
Fluffy Library aims to blur the boundaries between different ages and open up spaces for different identities, including those of us who wish their fairy tales had been a little more adventurous with subjectivity, gender, sexuality and human relations. How good of a grasp can we get of the uncanny and how much tenderness can we give or gather from it? Fluffy brings with them a collection of gender-neutral, positive and playful literature and invites the audience to cuddle up, roll around and grab a book. Visitors will also meet Fluffy’s friends; an alphabet of hybrid creatures that weave their way into and reshape language. Fairy masculinities, hairy mermaids and sensitive monsters celebrate alternative narratives and reclaim their place in books, shelves and stories.
Fluffy Library is an otherworldly platform for experimentation on the axes of tactility, intimacy, kinship and embodiment. It foregrounds radical vulnerability, softness and playfulness, making storytelling a political tool to re-imagine and reinvent the world. Through workshops, events, and collaborations with other artists, educators, and collectives the project aims to build bridges between art, radical pedagogy and social activism, and become a gathering place for diverse audiences including children, all types of families, schools and people from the queer and LGBTQI+ communities.
In an effort to make art inclusive and accessible to a wider audience, Fluffy Library has hosted several workshops for children and their accompanied caregivers. The workshops were conducted in collaboration with educators, drag queens and activists.
Part of the project also included a special curation of several events in collaboration with other artists, performers, musicians, collectives and publishers such as Queer Ink, The Political Fatties and Burning Eye Books. Cosy evenings of absurd storytelling, poetry slams, queer film projections, girls power music nights, performances about disability, installations and residencies.