Art & Technology: When Everybody is a Librarian, The Library is Everywhere

06.09.2017 - 13:00 to 16:00
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MFA 1st year
MFA 2nd year

Course professor: Michelle Teran
Meeting location: 3rd floor MFA hub

The course aims to introduce a number of divergent positions, in which we examine the notion of the library as an architecture and site of infinite invention. Within this course, we will address the current role and status of the library, seen through the perspective of the physical and digital, or the post-digital. The course reflects on how the finite dimension of printed matter in relation to the circulation of materials and information that defines networked environments, means that libraries can play a critical role in establishing particular connections to both content and place, as well as engaging with the principle of universal access to knowledge. On the one hand, we see the emergence of temporary and distributed libraries popping up within non-traditional sites in which the limiting of content plays a distinct role in generating connections to a particular specialized knowledge, event or place; as well as becoming a social environment for sharing content together. On the other, digital public libraries—shadow or pirate libraries—challenge paywalls that prevent access to academic research, and also invite the decentralization of personal digital collections, turning them into a public commons. As artist/hacker Marcell Mars states, “when everybody is a librarian, the library is everywhere.”

Learning Outcomes
The course will look at the space of the library in relation to notions of cultural memory and the archive, and examine the library as a curatorial space and technology for thinking. We will engage with discourses on current library practices within contemporary art using several pedagogical formats. We will start by looking at current projects and practices and do group readings of texts. We will think together about the book as a form of display architecture related to contemporary exhibition making practices. We will consider the role of the librarian—and the ‘amateur librarian’—regarding processes of curation towards setting up collections around specialized knowledge. Part of this introduction will include experimenting with open source software, such as Calibre, that enables one to build up personal online libraries that affiliations or communities can share with one another.

Students participating in the course will work on a group project where they will together help develop and produce a Norwegian version of the Temporary Library, which will be presented at the Metamorf Biennale for Art & Technology in Trondheim, March 2018. The Temporary Library, initiated by artist, writer, and publisher Alessandro Ludovico, makes a curated selection of publications dealing with topics of digital art and culture to reflect the history and participants of a media art scene of a particular event or site. These collections, acting as both archive and distribution, are then exposed to a broader public. Past versions of the Temporary Library have been produced for the Transmediale Festival (Berlin), ISEA 2017 (Manizales, Colombia), xCoAx 2017 (Lisbon) as well as upcoming versions in the Kochi Biennial (Kochi, India) and WRO Biennale (Wroclaw, Poland).

During the Metamorf Biennale, a Temporary Library of publications reflecting the participants and media art scene in Norway will become a public display at Gallery KiT during the festival. Students enrolled in the course will participate in the research, acquisition, and cataloging stages of assembling the collection, as well as considerations of display strategies and exhibition design of The Temporary Library. The exhibition will coincide with an art book fair, seminar and performance programme curated by students within the first year of the Master programme at KiT. The Temporary Library will be then donated and form part of a unique collection within the library at KiT, with the possibility to be lent out to other events upon request..

The first session of the course will include an introductory lecture of the Temporary Library project by Alessandro Ludovico.
Tuesday, September 6th @ 13.30 in Kunstarken.

Keywords: Fluid Library, DIY Library, Pirate Library, Appropriated Library, People’s Library, Intervened Library, Shadow Library, Temporary Library, Distributed Library.

Student eligibility
MFA (maximum of 8 masters art students) and BFA students, plus students from other departments within NTNU.

Reading List
Anna-Sophie Springer, Melancholies of the Paginated Mind: The Library as Curatorial Space
Balázs Bodó, Libraries in the post-scarcity era
Lawrence Liang, Shadow Libraries
Alessandro Ludovico, The end of paper: can anything actually replace the printed page?
Alessandro Ludovico, Temporary and Distributed Libraries, breaking boundaries, creating new resources
Marcell Mars, Manar Zarroug and Tomislav Medak, Public library (an essay)
Walter Benjamin, Unpacking My Library
Michel Foucault, Fantasia of the Library
Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel
Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
George Perec, The Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books
Shannon Mattern, Marginalia: Little Libraries in the Urban Margins

Please note, we will not have sufficient time to read through and discuss all listed texts within the scheduled course times. We will make a selection of a few from the list for group readings. Participants in the course are also encouraged to make their suggestions and help crowd source the curriculum. The same applies to all non-literary references.

Alain Resnais, Toute la Mémoire du Monde
Fred Wilson, Mining the Museum
Aby Warburg, Denkraum
Lars von Trier, Melancholia
Alessandro Ludovico, The Temporary Library
The People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street
Asia Art Archive (AAA), Mobile Library
Cabinet Magazine, Cabinetlandia
Wafaa Bilal, One Hundred Sixty-Eight Hours and One Second
Kadar Attia, Continuum of Repair: The LIght of Jacob’s Ladder
Temporary Services, The Library Project
Andrew Norman Wilson, ScanOps
Krissy Wilson, The Art of Google Books
David Guez, Humanpédia
Marta Minujin, The Parthenon of Books
Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Library)
Annie Vigier & Franck Apertet, Library
Maria Eichhorn, Rose Valland Institute
Martha Rosler Library
Maru Calva, Biblioteca Aeromoto
Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell
Paul Purgas and Louis Moreno, Infrastructure of Feeling
Wendy’s Subway
Kenneth Goldsmith, Printing out the Internet
Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied, One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age
Daniel García Andújar, Postcapital. Archive 1989–2001
Marcell Mars & Tomislav Medak, Public Library
Library Genesis
Sean Dockray,

Attendance and participation are mandatory. Students enrolling in the course are required to attend each session. Students will be assessed by their presence, involvement in group work and contribution to the discussions.

Target Group
This course is geared towards MFA1 and MFA2 students who are committed to following the entire course of the program.

September 6th, 20th, October 11th, 25th, November 8th, 22nd, 29th.
Course times are Wednesdays from 13-16.

Collaborative tools and platforms for the course
Dropbox- A shared Dropbox folder will be used as a shared online course repository for distributed readings, and other shared content.
Drop Box Paper ( - Will be used for curriculum updates, notes taken during sessions and group project planning.
We will also use a course blog to post references, and other useful sources related to the course topic.

Image: Alessandro Ludovico, Temporary Library

Kunstakademiet i Trondheim
Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU)
N-7491 Trondheim

Visiting address:
Innherredsveien 7 (Industribygget)

Contact form
adm [at]
Tel. +47 73 59 79 00
Fax. +47 73 59 79 20