The title suggests the latin term for library, ‘bibliotheca’, and also alludes to how the library, and the book culture it has supported, has become increasingly technologised. Across two exhibitions and symposia events in Spring 2022 Torque Editions explored these issues with a range of international artists, thinkers, and library professionals.
Contributing artists and speakers: Animate Assembly (with Caroline Sebilleau and Antonio Roberts), Anna Barham, Jonathan Basile, Joe Devlin, David Gauthier, Sumuyya Khader, Rosa Menkman, Katie Patterson, Post-Digital Publishing Archive (Silvio Lorusso), Tom Schofield, Erica Scourti, Jenna Sutela, Joanna Drucker, Gary Hall and Mel Jordan, Emily Segal.
The exhibitions also featured newly developed artworks on ‘small data AI’ and language learning forming the RNN-Triptych.
Exhibitions took place at the Exhibition Research Lab in Liverpool, UK, and Neme, Cyprus, running in both locations simultaneously for a period. The majority of works were presented in both sites, while some one-off works were exhibited in only one gallery. Accordingly, this crossover and correspondence created a context to explore modes of reproducibility, presence and difference at play in print and digital-based artefacts, and the library and culture more broadly.
By transforming the galleries into a library-like setting of diverse publishing, note-taking, writing and learning practices, as reinvented by contemporary artists, BiblioTech sought to playfully push against audience expectations for gallery and library alike. Through the works in the show, and the subsequent book, we also explore how libraries have become hybridised with other environments: from museums and schools, to bedrooms, computer-networks, labs and forests, opening up new conceptual space for the future of books; of how and where they are written and read. For further details of works included see pdf of gallery guide here.
A publication documenting the project will be published in autumn 2022, including contributions from the talks programme, documentation and commentary from participating artists, and content gathered via the interactive works in the exhibition. The book relates the library to: the formation and production of knowledge; the situation for publishing, reading and writing in the context of new technologies; and the library as a hybrid public space for learning, community and counter-cultural action.
An extended introduction by the editors includes a survey of contemporary art’s propositions for library futures, and ways that new technology is changing how books are made and circulate today.