Chilling out in the Marx Lounge

6 Jan

Sometime in the autumn of 2010 I traveled to Liverpool for the first time to see David Harvey speak at the Liverpool Biennial. After Harvey’s engaging talk, we wandered around the building (myself and my friends, not with David Harvey unfortunately) and found ourselves in The Marx Lounge. An art piece – definitely one of my favourites to date – by Alfredo Jaar. A large room painted a crimson red and dimly lit, giving it a sort of shady feel (which is strange because the art piece is supposed to show how relevant Marx is today, rather than the feeling that we were in an underground club participating in prohibited activities) , with a huge table in the middle absolutely packed with piles of books. There were lampshades and sofas around the table centrepiece so people could make themselves comfortable. A neon red sign on the wall told us of our location in this piece of art, ‘The Marx Lounge’, it read in capital letters. All the books here were either by Marx – with copies of the Communist Manifesto in the languages of different ethnic groups in Liverpool – or had been influenced by Marx.  We picked up books eagerly and worked our way across the table – looking for books we had read or knew of, excited at the discovery of new books and authors and how they had interpreted Marx. It was an incredibly thrilling environment to be a part of -right there on the table was so much to be learnt, thought about, debated. I could have spent all afternoon there had it not been for a trained time ticket.

This is the sort of interior design that you don’t see on ‘Grand Designs’.


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