16 June 2018: Speculative Libraries by Nick Thurston

~Workshop   Me–We Library   10.00 – 17.00
please email us if you’d like to participate

~Talk  Speculative Libraries  19.00 – 21.00


Workshop   Me–We Library

How do individual writers, librarians and readers change each other, and in doing so become a community, in the peculiar space of a public library? What happens when those places, collections and communities disperse? And how might the act of publishing – of making public – be at the core of any answer to these questions?

Beginning with an informal talk about a recent exhibition exploring the relationship between contemporary art and libraries, ‘The House That Heals The Soul’ (CCA, Glasgow, 2017; The Tetley, Leeds, 2018), this practical workshop invites participants to collaboratively make a set of answers to these questions. By sharing, copying, re-printing and talking we will explore ideas of loss, recovery, speculation, reproduction, anthologisation and reading.

Please bring a book that you would like to share but not to loose.  

Speculative Libraries, talk

Public libraries are having their purposes and practices fundamentally challenged by the growth of networked computing and neo-liberal models of the civic sphere. While these changes should be matters for broad social debate, it seems equally important to re-imagine what public libraries of the near future could be and could enable. This talk will explore some of the roles that contemporary art might have in that collective process of re-imagining.

From Martha Rosler Library (2005-6) to the open-access file-sharing on aaaaarg.fail, a trend can be traced for making libraries as or within contemporary art projects. This talk will cover the history and techniques of what Nick Thurston calls speculative library-making, considered as the practice of constructing real or imaginary libraries as an artistic act, plus a sub-genre practice of producing functioning public libraries as a form of public non-art. He will discuss examples of both throughout.

Nick Thurston is a writer and editor who makes artworks. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include the solo show ‘Hate Library’ at Foksal Gallery (Warsaw, 2017) and HKW (Berlin, 2018), group shows at GRAF Museum (Groningen, 2018) and MuHKA (Antwerp, 2018), and his co-devised exhibition about art and libraries, ‘The House That Heals The Soul’ at CCA (Glasgow, 2017) and The Tetley (Leeds, 2018). As well as writing regularly for the literary and art press, he is the author or co-author of several books, pamphlets, essays and stranger things. His next book, Back to Front Truths: Opposing the post-digital cultures of the far-right, co-edited with Maik Fielitz, will be published in early 2019.

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