While at FoAM, one of the projects I worked on was the reorganisation of the library space. Before starting, it was worth having a read of FoAM’s library page:
In FoAM’s studio in Brussels, we collect books, media and materials related to our activities and interests. In our multi-sensory library, visitors may read, view, listen and touch snippets of the culture that FoAM’s collaborators cherish. The most traditional part of the library is our hard-copy section including books, magazines, zines and pamphlets. It is an eclectic collection of scientific and philosophical texts, artistic anthologies, richly illustrated design books, software manuals and recipe collections, futuristic science-fiction, or even obscure facsimiles of alchemical manuscripts and botanical guides.
Having worked in the new media field over the years, we have collected a small selection of contemporary digital audiovisual works – DVDs, CDs (and even a few CD-ROMs), containing experimental films, abstract computer-graphics, compositions, electronic and computer music, generative animation, artistic portfolios and other curiosa.
Our latest addition to the library is a rarity cabinet of material samples – textiles, plastics, composites, active materials, etc. Visitors can browse through the samples, or through books about new materials, as well as consult manufacturers’ brochures. This materials library is the only one in Belgium freely accessible to artists and designers seeking inspiration and information in this domain. The library and it’s adjacent working space offers a place for concentrated work, providing researchers a much needed break from fast-paced professional life. It is accessible by appointment only, one person or small group at the time, allowing visitors to concentrate on their studies, without distractions.
I spent several hours browsing through the book collection, making notes, taking photos, finding distractions, enjoying digressions. I even came across the catalogue and book for Obrist & Vanderlinden’s ‘Laboratorium’ which seems to be almost impossible to find. Other books which caught my eye included a collection on curating, a text titled ‘Media Ecologies’, another called ‘Sensorium’, and a chapter in yet another on speculation and serendipity. I drew up some provisional categories or themes and, with Christina, developed an emergent classification:
Art | Art organisations | Curating
Biology | Botany | Gardening
Cooking | Food
Design | Fashion
Futures | Resilience | Sustainability
History | Politics
Manuals | Maps
Poetry (digital, mathematical, literary)
Some worked better than others, and it seems likely that the ‘Futures | Resilience | Sustainability’ section is just too large and needs to be more specific. Another problem was that we had hoped to integrate fiction within the other categories but this proved too difficult given the time. It made me remember how useful it is to have ‘tags’ when working online, as so many things can fall between or across categories.
a parafictional, semifunctional (deeply intertwingled) collection of documents, notes and randomness in the smouldering rubble of babel. it has been mostly reconstructed from material with escaped the libarynth greyhole event, however there are some old pages that may reappear in the near future, stochastically. current pages can be edited as you like, you can also create new pages… .
If you fancy losing yourself, feel free to explore this smorgasbord of thoughts, reports and writings. There’s a handy little trace tool which keeps a record of the connections and links you’ve followed but there’s no starting point as such. Just search for something and see where it takes you…