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Last active Dec 23, 2015
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Public library
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## <a id="infrastructure"></a>Public Library (as infrastructure) ##
### Context ###
It’s a simple idea: **public library** is one of those almost invisible infrastructures that we start to notice only once they go extinct. A place where all people can get access to all knowledge that can be collected. In the past it relied on the limited resources of rich patrons or unstable budgets of (welfare) states. With internet, as in many other instances, the dream about unievrsal access got much more imaginable. It seemed just an issue of interpreting when the trajectory curves of global personal computer distribution and internet access penetration would finally make universal access to knowledge a reality. However, the actual trajectory of development of public libraries in the age of internet are pointing in the opposite direction – that the phenomena we people are most proud of are being undercut and can easily go extinct.
Public libraries now cannot receive, and sometimes not even buy, the books of some of the largest publishers. The books that they already hold they must destroy after lending them 26 (?!?) times. And they are loosing the battle to the market dominated by new players such as Amazon, Google and Apple. Economic crisis and the recent austerity measures brought another threat to the libraries and that’s the total extinction through (public) financial support cuts.
More about CONTEXT:
### Proposal ###
As said before, my proposal is simple: let’s make catalog of all of the books we already downloaded and let’s share them.
The public library is:
- free access to books for every member of society
- library catalog
- librarian
With books ready to be shared, meticulously cataloged, everyone is a librarian.
> When everyone is librarian, library is everywhere.
Dead simple.
### The Scope of People and Projects ###
Nothing would be possible if Sean Dockray didn’t start [][1], Dušan Barok [Monoskop][2], Sebastian Luetgert and Jan Gerber [Pirate Cinema][3] & [][4], Kenneth Goldsmith [UbuWeb][5], Henry Warwick [Alexandria project][6], [Piratbyrån][7] [The Pirate Bay][8] and more than anyone else if [Library Genesis][9] didn’t let us download their whole catalog of near million of books. These people are my heros and seems that working on this brings us together as a nice friendly crew. We all miss [Aaron Swartz][10] so much.
Public Library aims to articulate this cluster of projects as unique but distributed infrastructure by:
- developing *proof of concept* for [end-to-end catalog][11] & peer-to-peer book sharing ([\[let's share books\]][12] software and related server infrastructure at
- making [DIY book scanners][13] and organizing communities around book scanning (already happening in Zagreb, Belgrade, Ljubljana and some in initial phase in Barcelona, Berlin and Lüneburg)
- organizing events where all of the projects are promoted and important issues are raised (already happened in Ljubljana, Novi Sad with few others planned for 2014: Stuttgart (Kunstverein & Academie Solitude), Zagreb (Multimedia institute - MAMA), Madrid (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía).
## Public Library (as art) ##
<iframe src="//;portrait=0" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Public Library, Marcell Mars</a> interviewed at Transmediale 2013 by <a href="">Cornelia Sollfrank</a>.</p></iframe>
### Context ###
Public Library as proposed in ["proposal for infrastructure"](#infrastructure) unfortunately couldn't happen. Just like many other (infrastructural) projects in the past in order to get *autonomy* and *protection* it should articulate itself **as work of art**.
In the past it was possible to deny artistic status of the work as a gesture of resistance. The gesture against power, appropriation, establishment and main-stream. These days are gone. Not a single gesture is able to resists against appropriation if one is about to happen. Still, one can play the game.
Public Library plays the game. It [inherits][14] objectives of UNESCO's "[Memory of the World][15]" programme and builds its infrastructure at following the dream of Henry La Fontain who coined the phrase at the beginning of 20th century and who together with Paul Otlet envisoned **the city of knowledge** which would serve as a central repository for the world's information.
### Recognition ###
Public Library is recognized as art project. It was part of **Dear Art** exhibition (curated by [WHW][16]) in [Ljubljana][17] and [London][18], presented at [Transmediale][19], Marcell Mars gave lectures and presentations at The New School in NYC, [Shared Digital Futures][20] in Vienna, workshops at [Impakt Festival][21] in Utrecht, [Novi Sad][22] and other places.
Together with other similar artistic projects Public Library makes a network of infrastructures for dissemination of knowledge, collaboration, research and development.
### <a id="collaboration"></a>Collaboration/Network ###
These artistic projects already took part in the program of Public Library:
- [][23] by Sean Dockray
- [UbuWeb][24] by Kenneth Goldsmith
- [Monoskop][25] by Dušan Barok
- [][26] by Sebastian Luetgert
- [Library Genesis][27] by Unknown Hackers from Russia
## Public Library (as conceptual event) ##
The best way to set up Public Library is to organize event where particular space for certain period of time transforms itself into **the** Public Library.
### Formats ###
The program of Public Library then consists of digital infrastructure (server mirror of Library Genesis with million of books) accessible at the venue, exhibition, lectures, presentations, hackathons, discussions, workshops, round tables etc.
### Exhibiting cluster of art projects ###
Projects listed under [Collaboration/Network](#collaboration) are some of the best art projects in the world today related to the issues Public Library addresses. All of the artists are supportive of Public Library project and would like to join the new instances as they already did in Ljubljana and Novi Sad.
Archives on their own are not particularly exciting material to exhibit. One interesting approach could be to have curators, art historians to use these [archives](#collaboration) as a research material for curating/selecting something relevant and interesting from them.
One of the most exciting tensions lays in between [UbuWeb][5] by Kenneth Golsmith and [Monoskop][2] by Dušan Barok. One covering very visible, recognized, established avangard art of the western world made by the same kind of artist and another covering Central and South European media art often forgotten, hidden and obscure made by the same kind of artist. One read-only HTML 1.0 web site, another read/write wiki. With many other reflections of each other to be discovered.
### Hackers R&D ###
Some of the best hackers and designers joined the project in Ljubljana and Utrecht and are willing to gather together again. They are able to develope and improve Public Library infrastructure, work on new user interfaces, experiments of all kind but who are also able to present their work and run workshops on how to use the tools they develop.
### Video archive ###
The video archive from Ljubljana (November 2012) of all of the lectures, presentations, discussions, round tables:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
## Public Library (as jigsaw puzzle) ##
Public Library could be easily part of wider framework (e.g. exhibition, festival, conference etc.) which addresses the issues raised by Public Library and its [sister projects](#collaboration).
### Topics/Issues ###
The list of wider topics/issues where Public Library could be only one of the examples:
- **civil disobedience as act of providing infrastructure**.
- **art (practice) as infrastructure**.
- **autonomy in the context of infrastructures**. (e.g autonomy in the age of Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple; art in the age of MoMA, Guggenheim etc.)
- **institutions and civil disobedience**.
- **institutions and art (practice) as infrastructure**.
- **institutions and autonomy in the context of infrastructures**.
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