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Bookshelf Picks: Ana Escobar on exploring the psyche, dreamlike journeys, and representation through images

Ana's Bookshelf Picks arranged on a bright and colourful backdrop.
Ana's Bookshelf Picks arranged on a bright and colourful backdrop.
Image credit: Ana Escobar.
Written by
Chloe Murphy
Published date
25 August 2020

At London College of Communication (LCC), we support our students to become the future of the creative industries. We're proud to give them the tools they need to develop key critical and technical skills, to build their confidence, and to grow their professional networks.

Our Industry Mentoring Scheme matches postgraduate students with experienced mentors who can offer helpful tips, information and advice on ways to kick-start their career. As the world navigates new ways of working, thinking and doing, we asked some of our mentors to suggest the books and resources that help them to stay inspired and stay creative throughout these challenging times.

Ana Escobar

Ana Escobar was born in Spain and moved to London 17 years ago. She studied for both her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at London College of Communication, and is now a lecturer on our BA (Hons) Photography course, as well as a mentor for MA students.

While Ana predominantly works with photography, her practice also involves multimedia installations and live performance. She most enjoys reflecting on the theme of ‘in-between spaces’ inhabited by artists, which she explores through the use of archetypes, magic, dreams and mythologies in the psychoanalytical Jungian tradition.

Ana has held various collective and solo shows across the UK, Europe and China, and is also a member of the Writing Photographs Research Hub.

In our latest Bookshelf Picks feature, Ana shares some of the most interesting and inspiring works from her summer reading list.

Image depicts The Red Book on a floral background.
Art direction courtesy of Larry Vigon // W. W. Norton. Image credit: Ana Escobar.

1. The Red Book: A Reader's Edition - Carl Jung, trans. Mark Kyburz, John Peck and Sonu Shamdasani (2009)

“I’d say that Carl Jung, together with Franz Kafka and nature, has been the biggest fount of inspiration in my life. His words, works and findings resonate with my understanding of inner life and the human psyche.

Most of my art practice is inspired by his vision, which in turns reflects my own, and explores a physical space in the form of ‘words’ and later on as dreams or performed actions.

This particular book of his is, I think, the most profound one. It was finally printed as ‘A Reader’s Edition’ in 2009; the original is an extremely large facsimile, as well as expensive!"

Image depicts Spells on a red and yellow patterned background.
Cover design by Ignota. Image credit: Ana Escobar.

2. Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry - ed. Sarah Shin and Rebecca Tamás (Ignota, 2018)

“This book is exciting, refreshing, contemporary and powerful!

I sometimes find reading classic poetry difficult, but Shin and Tamas’ Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry almost reads itself into your eyes…

Complete with an exquisite design, this is a very strong work by the writers."

Image depicts White Fragility on a black and white spotted background.
Cover design by Penguin. Image credit: Ana Escobar.

3. White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo (Penguin Books, 2018)

“If you are in the world - and particularly if you were in the world in June 2020 - Robin DiAngelo’s book is a must-read.

Reflecting on one own’s whiteness and the different ways discussions about race can be started is both challenging and exciting, not only but especially because of my role as an art tutor.

If you are interested in photography or representation through images, I would also recommend Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time by Mark Sealy."

Image depicts Rayuela on a blue, white, red and yellow striped background.
Image credit: Ana Escobar.

4. Rayuela - Julio Cortazar (various ed., 1963)

"Cortazar’s literary classic is called Hopscotch in the English translation, and is a recurring summer read of mine. I bought this edition in my hometown’s book fair back in 1997 on a good friend’s recommendation, and in many years to come, I hope you will say that your copy was inspired by someone’s Bookshelf Picks back in 2020.

The novel follows Oliveira, who is in Paris in search of his lover, La Maga (the Sorcerer). It has many dreamlike situations, and can be read in at least two different ways: either following the traditional linear manner, or following the writer’s advice and jumping from place to place, metaphorically playing hopscotch with Oliveira and La Maga..."

Image depicts How to Use and Direct Your Energy on a peach-coloured background.
Image credit: Ana Escobar.

5. How to use and direct your energy - R. Michael Miller and Josephine M. Harper (Sirio, c. 1986)

"On the first day of my summer break, I found this book on the street, resting against a brick. It seems outdated and unfashionable; however, I am always excited to read practical manuals about energy control, or the many ways in which humans try to make the unconscious conscious, usually by the use of scientific language.

This kind of reading tends to feed my imagination, inspiring performances or gestures that give way to new art pieces – or at least it will never fail to inspire a good, controversial conversation over a glass of wine during my holiday!"

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