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13 April 2023 ~ Shelf Life of the Library:

Resistance between the margins

In dialogue with Alan Smart, Mariana Lanari, Heide Hinrichs & Elizabeth Haines 

19:00 – 21:00

Shelf Life of the Library reflects on what kind of artistic, activist and more broadly research strategies can be adopted in order to re-evaluate, and potentially expand the dominant narratives that frame how we understand past, present and future. We invite you to join Alan Smart, Mariana Lanari, Heide Hinrichs and Elizabeth Haines in exploring – provocatively, playfully, curiously – legacies of resistance and critical social action, and the contemporary negotiation of these histories in printed matter.

In the spirit of archival interventions, artist-researcher Mariana Lanari will reflect on her conceptual and spatial re-mediation of library infrastructures. Mariana’s practice explores processes of translation, both in regards to linguistics and broader cultural implications. Her research and artistic projects examine the negotiating role of libraries within the wider context of heritage preservation, as well as the mediation of the library itself in the surrounding social environment.

Heide Hinirchs and Elizabeth Haines will present the publication Shelf Documents: Art Library as Practice. The publication developed from the collaborative project second shelf, initiated in 2018 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. The project sought to enable the integration of books by artists from marginal positions in the academy’s library. In this spirit, Shelf Documents departs from the question: ‘How can art libraries be generative resources and sites of action for all who identify as queer, as women, as Black, as Indigenous, as people of colour? What does it mean to consider the art library as a collective practice that spans multiple scales?

Alan Smart’s project, New Babylon Times: Publishing in the Contested City, physically inhabits PrintRoom’s presentation space as a cartographic display of posters, reminiscent of a picket line. Both visually and conceptually, the display also evokes an urban landscape – a site that sees the mundane choreography of life collide with restless ideals and revolutionary desire. The presentation draws on Alan’s critical interest in the intersection of political and social movements with architecture, design and urbanism. Alan Smart joins PrintRoom this month as publisher-in-residence, and during his residency he will facilitate collective encounters with archival sites, including the International Institute of Social History.

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