First, thank you to SLA for providing the food!
Organized by the well-appreciated efforts of Betsy Boyle, one of our co-chairs, she worked to contact all out guest speakers, as well as worked with the technology staff to ensure we’d have a computer and screen for the presentations. Her hard work goes well noted, and we thank her for a job well done, and very enjoyable evening.
That said, the Artists in Libraries panels featured six students: Lisa Gross, Stephanie Cordon, Jack Scheider, Courtney Lockemer, Kirk Amaral Snow, and Gregory Vershbow. (Sarah Peck was also supposed to be featured, but unfortunately, called out sick.)
Things kicked off with each student saying a little about their own projects. With a definite variety (from installations to webpages to photography to performance art), the artists all had a unique perspective on the world around them.
(They do have websites, which will be posted a little further on. While I took notes on their art, I’m not sure I feel entirely qualified to comment. I suggest you check out their websites, and make your own observations, your own conclusions.)
Next followed a Q&A session. We opened the floor with a question about (what else?) …libraries. Specifically, how important are libraries in their individual process.
Lisa (her project is the web design/page, UrbanHomestead) opened by saying the reading and research process was centric to her art, as she needs to be up-to-date on cultural and social aspects of Urban Homestead. She needs to know everything from the practical realties of gardening to “how to make cheese”, as well as where the next Farmer’s Market is. She feels there is something invaluable about books, as kind of like “blogs, if someone makes a book making cheese, they really know what they are talking about.” While she certainly uses the internet, she feels there is no substitute for a good book.
Stephanie (her project forged text with music, and featured floor plans from houses in Pompeii and Herculeum), calls reading “jumping down the rabbit hole”. She loves browsing because no matter what books you find, each book leads yo to more books on a never-ending search of information. It’s for this reason she especially loves the bibliographies, to see what the author might have referenced or read or simply glanced at while researching.
Gregory (whose project was a book called “The Alchemist’s Tree”) feels a strong affinity to books. He finds it most satisfying to start with books, as art must first start in a library only to go out into the world. Eventually, it all comes home again, he says. He likes the idea of combining the book world with the online world, and seeing how the two mediums might work together.
Courtney (whose project focused on the psychological sense of place vs. space, and featured video and performance), can see so much in one place. Libraries are free and open places for everyone. She wishes museums would follow that same philosophy: free for everyone. She loves how projects can rise randomly, and libraries are there to help “fund” the research.
Kirk (whose project likewise featured performance and installation, and was designed to give a sense of wonder to the world), believes libraries help to close the physical distance. Research is a place art can’t get to. It’s very much like releasing a feather, you follow the wind, seeing where you end. You’ll always find something new.
Perhaps Jack (his project was an installation featuring the soda Surge) states it best: “Libraries are beneficial, no need to state the obvious.”
It was at this point I needed to duck out, thus missing the remainder of the discussion. So, I open it to you, dear readers. What was your favorite part of the evening? What witty saying from the guests struck a particular chord with you? What did you like or didn’t like?
And as promised, the websites:
Kirk Amaral Snow: N/A
Stephanie Cardon: Stephanie Cardon
Lisa Gross: Lisa Gross – Urban Homestead
Courtney Lockemer: Courtney Lockemer
Jack W. Schneider: Jack Schneider
Gregory Vershbow: Gregory Vershbow