Crofton Park Library
Manga Controls You Through The Matrix!

It was interesting to note that a report on the opening of Crofton Park Library in 1905 stated, ‘A telephone for the use of the public was fixed in the building, of which the district might feel proud’. The telephone has since been removed. That must have been a long time ago. Branch Librarian Gwen Randall doesn’t ever remember the telephone, and her memory of the library stretches back to the sixties. Today’s equivalent of course is internet wi-fi a technology which uses high frequency radio signals to transmit and receive data over distances of a few hundred feet and which one can use to access the internet.

In one of the corners of the library there are a number of people sat down in a semi-vegetative state, completely unaware of their immediate physical environment. A guy with jowly cheeks which form a unified whole with his neck so that his jaw bone seems not to exist is slumped in the chair and staring at the computer screen. He is physically in the library but his soul has shot through his entranced eyes and entered the information superhighway, and is currently residing some miles away from where we all think he is now.

Pat, seventy years old, who started attending the library as a child, has little time for computers. “They’re all just sitting there” she said “and nowadays people only talk in emails”.

Crofton Park Library is part of the matrix. The matrix consists of millions of information points, anyone of which you can access in seconds providing you know its address, and providing you have a doorway into it. The matrix includes the internet, cable TV, DVDs, videos and magazines. The question is do we access the information or does the information use us to reproduce itself around the world? In the wall near to the children’s library in Crofton Park Library, the Japanese manga cartoon culture has used the matrix to reproduce and deposit itself as a display comprising children’s manga drawings and commentary. Gerson Henry writes in orange felt tip pen, “I like manga because I get to draw cartoons which I am really good at and I enjoy. It improves my drawing skills and shows the different styles in manga. I would like to…” At this point Gerson seems to have grown tired of writing his review and stops, but it is clear that manga has worked its way through the matrix and into Gerson’s head, out through his thoughts and words and on to the library wall. Where will it go next?
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