digital print mounted on sintra, 12 panels
each 25″ x 15″
Cover to Cover explores the juxtapositions and meanings one constructs from the information, ideas, and images in the library. The piece focuses on the 30-volume Encyclopedia Americana as a condensed summary of the library’s body-of-knowledge. The encyclopedia’s division into separate manageable volumes results in peculiar subject couplings, sometimes romantic (Heart to India), sometimes absurd (Photography to Pumpkin), sometimes perverse (Skin to Sumac). Cover to Cover exposes this phenomenon by rendering these couplings from the encyclopedia’s black and red book-covers as independent emblems distributed erratically around a room, no longer in alphabetical or numerical order. The piece invites contemplation of the arbitrary adjacencies of knowledge in the library.
About The Library Project
The Library Project is an installation of artworks that explore the nature of the library–its vastness, its proliferation, and the peculiarities of its organization. While the Wesleyan Library is its specific subject and site, the project refers by implication to any and all libraries.
The Library Project began in the Fall of 2001 as a credited, three-student tutorial with James Jacobus ’03, Myra Rasmussen ’04, and Aki Sasamoto ’04 under the auspices of the Christian Johnson Foundation. Later, Wolasi Konu ’04 joined the project as graphic designer. During the semester we worked as a research and development team–researching some of the operations of the library (acquisitions, cataloging, etc), reading relevant texts (Borges, The Library of Babel; Barthes, The Plates of the Encyclopedie; Spoerri, An Anecdoted Topography of Chance), and experimenting with and modeling ideas for works of art about the library. By the end of the semester, we had general plans for an exhibition to consist of several distinct but related works of art in response to the library. For the next year and a half, in fits and starts, we made the works.
We focused our project on the library’s burgeoning scope, and how its profusion of representations organize information and bodies of knowledge. We were particularly interested in the library’s liberal inclusiveness and decisive selectivity, which occludes from sight all that it excludes; the organizational pathways of the Library of Congress classification system which inevitably obscure other possible routes of inquiry; and the general proximities of knowledge–the ways in which areas of knowledge interconnect or self-isolate, whether by accident or design. Ultimately, we were concerned with how the library indexes the world of experience outside of the library. Because the library is now so large and complex a universe unto itself, and so influential on our perception and thought, there appears to be a reversal at work – the world now becomes an index to the library.