“Rediscover the library as a space of seduction and possibility”

This project arises from the approach of a group of librarians from this space to Concomitentes with a question: how can the ways of using and being in it be updated library and libraries in general? Considering that every library is an organism that touches many people who relate to it, we activate a participatory, collaborative and open mediation process in order to involve the voices and experiences of the entire user community.

In this way, Ranganathan was launched, a working group focused on collectively discussing, expanding, and problematizing the use and universe of this and all libraries. Named after the famous Indian librarian, S. R. Ranganathan, the group involves different groups found inside and outside the library: the BBAA team of librarians; students and teachers of Fine Arts and the entire UCM, as well as other university institutions; the library and library user community; the artistic, design and architecture community. We have also worked with Sagrado Nova, a facilitator and service designer with whom we articulate different strategies and co-creation spaces. Together, debates, conversations, questions and workshops were facilitated to made possible to articulate the assignment from a purposeful place. That is how to think about the assignment not from what is missing in this library, but rather from the singularity that this library generates.

What is the uniqueness of the Library of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the UCM? The power of the encounter with ideas, with books, with writing and reading processes: the encounter with others, as well as with oneself; meetings between classes and subjects, between departments and faculties, between students, workers, teachers and librarians. The library is a compendium of knowledge and practices that instigates ways of understanding what a collection and archive of the commons is and can be, situated and shared knowledge; a unique bank of material and immaterial objects, of knowledge and experiences articulated according to different orders and vectors, more or less rigid. It is a time machine to produce futures. Or perhaps “more than a space to cultivate the future, the library is a garden to enjoy the present” as librarian Daniel Goldin points out, quoted in the text that Michèle Petit gave us in a Ranganathan work session.

Based on this verification, the commission poses: how can we imagine an artistic intervention that accounts for and, at the same time, celebrates this capacity for multiple encounters displayed by the librarian activities of this library? A contagious power that is not exclusively subscribed to or restricted to its physical space, but that we also identify in other libraries and even in other spaces that we do not name as a library, but that, in some way, circulate and activate ways of doing, meeting, knowledge and experience that are their own. In short, “ways of making a library”.

To carry out this commission, we have invited the artist Iván Argote. Argote stands out for his interventions in the public space that, through sculptural and poetic languages, reveal different dynamics —be they tensions, passions, attractions, or spatial relationships— that inhabit the ways of being together and producing collectivity: how we live and are together, how we can live and be together in other ways, and what processes of collective writing and meaning remain to be imagined. His work largely incorporates participatory and collaborative processes, bringing together diverse experiences and voices in production, and designing specific methodologies in each case.

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