Project 2 * Library of Inclusions and Omissions
The Library of Inclusions and Omissions (LIO) is one of the four projects submitted for this PhD. What follows is a quick overview and short factual description of the projects’ elements. A detailed reflection and theorization follows in chapter 05*Reflection and theorization of projects.
Starting point and context
The LIO is a practice-based experiment in critical knowledge infrastructures. Through an open call for contributions, a reference library is collectively built and curated by the community that is using it. To date, there are roughly 100 contributions on its shelves. The library gathers feminist, intersectional, and postcolonial materials that are not, or are only sparsely available in institutional collections or databases: too flimsy in format or otherwise not validated by publishing houses or institutions such as libraries. I wanted to explore whether such a curatorial concept can help to give voice to undiscovered, suppressed, or otherwise unacknowledged material. How can a library turn from being a repository of knowledge into a space of social and intellectual encounters? And could such a project build a community or connect different existing communities? In short, could such a project help to build collective knowledge infrastructures that in some ways are able to counter the normativity of how knowledge is created and shared in institutional libraries?
In the hope of receiving contributions from a range of cultural backgrounds and communities, the open call was published in Swedish, English, and Arabic and distributed in community centers, libraries, universities, and art spaces in and around Gothenburg (including suburbs such as Angered).
Index Card Catalogue
The LIO asks contributors for a short written rationale as to why the book they have selected is important to them, and why they want to share it with others. This task shifts the emphasis from attempting to frame the content of the books in an arguably objective manner towards describing the readers' processes of meaning-making. The short statements are printed on yellow index cards that accompany the books and serve as an entry point and framing device for the library users. This approach to cataloging is an attempt to connect people and communities through their readings, their discoveries, desires, struggles, and hopes. It is, therefore, an experiment to challenge the problematic concepts of neutrality and universality that form the basis of standard cataloging systems – discussed in detail in chapter 05*Reflection and theorization.
Temporary Reading Rooms, multiple sites
"Meaning Making Meaning", A-venue Gothenburg
March 16 – April 2, 2016
Convened by Gabo Camnitzer, "Meaning Making Meaning" was a three-part project consisting of an exhibition, a series of workshops and the Library of Inclusions and Ommissions Reading Room. Thirty-seven artists and educators responded to two questions: "How do you bring a classroom to life as if it were a work of art?" (Felix Guattari, Chaosmosis: An Ethicoaesthetic Paradigm); and its reformulation: "How do you bring a work of art to life as if it were a classroom?" The invitation to participate in "Meaning Making Meaning" kickstarted LIO. The exhibition's discursive and event-based character and its focus on the relationship between critical knowledge practices, education, and the arts, triggered numerous contributions by the participating practitioners and theorists, as well as from the art school community.
The exhibition included work, talks, and workshops by: Alina Tenser, Andrea Phillips, Ann-Charlotte Glasberg Blomqvist, Annette Krauss, Anton Vidokle, Barnfilmskolan, Bronwyn Bailey-Charteris, Cara Tolmie and Kimberley O'Neill, Doa Aly, Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse (Smudge Studio), Emanuel Almborg, Eva Weinmayr, Felicity Allen, Gert Biesta and Carl Anders Säfström, Glenn Loughran, Harrell Fletcher, Henry Giroux, Irit Rogoff, Janna Graham, Jaroslav Andel, Jason E. Bowman, Jenny Richards, Jessica Hamlin, Jeuno JE Kim and Ewa Einhorn, Katrin Ingelstedt, Lisa Nyberg, Lovisa Gustafsson, Maj Hasager, Maria Acaso and Jordi Ferreiro, Monica Sand, Olav Westphalen, Olivia Plender, Pedro Lasch, Stephan Dillemuth, Stephen Duncombe, Sunshine Socialist Cinema, and Tyson E. Lewis.
"The Research Show", A-venue Gothenburg
April 6–23, 2016
Convened by Cora Hillebrand, Ram Krishna Ranjan, and Mick Wilson, "The Research Show" was an informal work-in-progress exhibition by doctoral researchers based in the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg. Participating artists included André Alves, Eva la Cour, Kerstin Hamilton, Annelies Vaneycken, Arne Kjell Vikhagen, and Eva Weinmayr. "The Research Show" took place in the same venue as “Meaning Making Meaning”, an empty shop in Gothenburg's city center, immediately after the exhibition. Therefore the LIO reading room stayed as the exhibition around it changed. The implications of this change of context, from an event-based exhibition to an exhibition that focused on the display of exhibits is discussed in chapter 05*Reflection and theorization of projects.
"Let’s Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?"
October 12–14, 2016
The LIO was hosted by the three-day international event "Let’s Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?", which proposed to investigate queer and feminist pedagogies. The mobilization was organized by the Feminist Pedagogy Working Group (Andreas Engman, Eva Weinmayr, Gabo Camnitzer, Kanchan Burathoki, Mary Coble, and Rose Borthwick) at Valand Academy and welcomed over 100 participants, local, national and international (from seven European countries). Many of the attendees had brought books, pamphlets, and printouts to be added to the reading room installed in the main assembly room.
"Utopia of Access", Pavilion for Artistic Research, 57th Venice Biennale,
May 11 – July 2, 2017
Curated by Jan Kaila (Uniarts Helsinki) and Henk Slager (Utrecht University), the exhibition "Utopia of Access" invited ten researchers from different Nordic doctoral programs to articulate new modes of artistic thinking on the notion of access. Despite the topic's relevance – access to materials that are not institutionally validated – another set of questions emerged: what are the underlying politics of "exhibiting" a collectivized resource that is anchored in a local community in the context of an international art biennale? Would the practicalities of such an exhibition context be productive? Would visitors actually use the reading room and contribute relevant materials to the library? Rather than creating a reading room and moving the whole resource (the books themselves) to Venice, I used this occasion to document and share the Gothenburg project. I presented a 1:1 scale photographic representation of the books and the accompanying index cards on the shelves. This large-scale wall display was accompanied by a table built following an open-design by Enzo Mari (Enzo Mari, Autoprogetazione, 1974), and the pamphlet "Dear Hannah". The pamphlet discusses the implicit contradiction in exhibiting a collective resource – under a singular artistic authorship – at the Venice Biennale.
"Boxing and Unboxing", Guestroom Research Residency, Marabouparken konsthall Stockholm,
April 21 – August 26, 2018
During AND's research residency at MarabouParken Konsthall in Stockholm, and at the invitation of Marabouparken Konsthall’s curator Jenny Richards, a selection of books from the Library of Inclusions and Omissions was installed in what came to be called AND Publishing's "Unboxing Room". The "Unboxing Room" housed 12 cardboard boxes that were shipped from AND’s studio in London to Stockholm. The boxes contained materials Rosalie Schweiker and I were working on at the time, both collaboratively and individually. Visitors were invited to 'unbox' this archive-in-progress, that included ephemera from The Piracy Project, Teaching for people who prefer not to teach, The Library of Omissions and Inclusions, Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?, a selection of good and bad sports bras (D cup and upwards), Keep It Complex, as well as a box containing research on terms and conditions of work in and with arts organizations, emails, and other miscellaneous items.
This "Unboxing Room", initially designated to be in the main galleries, eventually occupied one of Marabouparken Konsthall's office/archive rooms, in the administrative wing. This change of plan was caused by the realization that the formal no-daylight gallery space did not allow for the kind of engagement we hoped for. The new room, next to the staff kitchen, was a more friendly and inviting environment for spending time and making discoveries whilst unpacking the boxes. Visitors were guided by konsthall staff to the administrative office wing – backstage so to speak – making the hidden work of administration, organization, and finances visible to visitors.