Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today's Libraries

A photograph by Dayanita Singh

To continue on similar trajectories that Karishma has begun, I find it interesting to see new methods of documentation, archiving and research to facilitate more effective systems of disseminating information. The British Library has an ongoing exhibition called Growing Knowledge that showcases innovative research tools. The website has all the details of their 10-year vision and the initiatives that are being taken via interactive exhibitions, debate and participatory evaluation, to structure and design new research environments. One of the projects that are being exhibited as part of the exhibition is an artwork by Blast Theory that combines theatre, game-play and technology where each participant’s performance becomes a document within the work, and as a result expands the range of experiences that every potential participant could encounter.

Documentation of any kind is a process that requires focused time and efficiency. Most individuals today who own a collection of music/ books or even a small archive are needing to digitize all their documents for better preservation. While museums and public libraries are equipped with both technology and human resource to ensure the stability of this process, there are many millions of precious documents of history that are unfortunately disintegrating and getting destroyed everyday by the inability to adapt to better methods of archiving, by negligence and in some horrific cases, by violence and war. For artists, it becomes very important to understand the value of good preservation of artwork and documents and requires an involvement in its process in parallel with their art-practice.

Malavika Rajnarayan

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