17 November 2006

Proteus Gowanus rocks!

ARLIS/NYers gathered at Proteus Gowanus last night to hear from three artists who are part of their "Library" theme year. Before they got started, Sasha introduced us to the Proteus program; this year's project folks include Matty Rosenberg (doing an artists books project), Deirdre Lawrence (working on a show at Brooklyn Museum), Nina Katchadourian, Jeanne Liotta (doing a project on media and ephemera in conjunction with Donnell), and chained books.

Andrew Beccone told us about his Reanimation Library and how it came to be, starting with his mom the librarian and an early job in a library in Saint Paul (Macalester?). A couple-three hundred books are on the shelves at Proteus, all cataloged, but the collection development policy involves the books having good images. Lots of Qs because science books can have remarkable illustrations, especially when they are looked at with "millenial" eyes. (Faith and I noted we were unusual at the gathering in being considerably over 40; Nancy arrived soon after.) Andrew mentioned that the books were mostly outdated, and one book was partly obscured by someone's head. I was reading the title as Pipilotti Rist which is hardly outdated; the title turned out to be Piloting ...

The collection development policy: odd books; copyright-related materials; images that get re-used by others.

Andrew is building a database, and has experimented with LibraryThing but doesn't see that it's an appropriation of his idea. Anything that would expedite record creation is fine with him. Cataloging takes effort, you know.

Shelly Jackson has two projects: an ethereal Institial Library and its more physical Circulating Collection. The latter is all of the books that are in circulation: in private collections, checked out of libraries, thrown away, lent. Shelly also spoke of "the problem of cataloging." Associative, redundancy. The example was long noses: the relation between Pinocchio and Cyrano might not be in your "cataloging" to say nothing of the fact that the Japanese call Americans the long nose people (as Faith mentioned). And then there's Warhol and his re-use of plastic surgery ads. And my "no more nose jokes" which has faded with time. When I searched nose in our opac, I found Nose book: representations of the nose in literature and art.

Jeffrey Schiff talked about his library project at Wesleyan University which has several components: book with a count of the books in Borges's Library of Babel, DVD of new titles athe library during one month (flashing by; boy, did I want a pause button), call numbers put in relevant places around town (and on the ceiling at Gowanus), "The world of ..." signs, and a wall piece moving from "bread" to other words selected by random.org.

Wendy Walker and Tom LaFarge will be talking about chained books on December 3rd.


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