Libraries are generally perceived as storehouses, spaces of stable accumulation and containment. While the architecture may attempt to operate in this stable tone, the material contained within them is often far wilder. Histories, biographies, loose thoughts, detailed notations, bodies, and objects are all temporarily suspended, cataloged, and organized, creating relationships where perhaps previously there was none. An example of where the tension between what is contained in libraries and how it is contained emerges in a highly palpable way in the trajectory of the Staatsbibliothek Berlin. This new artist book by Ruth Buchanan charts three narratives associated with the life of this particular library. The anecdotes become both concrete examples and metaphors through which to interrogate the production, situating, and sharing of meaning.
Ruth Buchanan and Ian White