Week 1: Aug. 28:
Introductions + Historicizing Information Overload
TEXTS REFERENCED IN CLASS (You needn’t read these, but you’re welcome to!):
- Clay Shirky, “It’s Not Information Overload, It’s Filter Failure” O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo NY (2008) [video].
- Ann Blair, “Information Overload, Then and Now” The Chronicle Review (28 November 2010).
- Daniel Rosenberg, “Early Modern Information Overload” Journal of the History of Ideas 64:1 (January 2003): 1-9.
- Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel” The Garden of Forking Paths.
Week 2: Sept. 4
Exploring the Archives
FIELD TRIP: New York City Municipal Archives, w/ Ken Cobb, Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Records and Information Services, and Archivist MJ Robinson
Meet at 4:00 at 31 Chambers (@ Centre). Take 4/5/6 (front of train) to Brooklyn Bridge. Please bring picture ID.
These will provide some context for our tour:
- NYC Municipal Archives + Collections (Spend some time w/ the WNYC, 1936-1981 Collection; this is the collection Dr. Robinson works with)
We’ll discuss the following in class next week:
- Mike Featherstone, “Archive” Theory, Culture & Society 23:2-3 (2006): 591-596.
- Jacques Derrida, “Note” + “Exergue” Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (University of Chicago 1996): 1-23.
- Jennifer Ulrich, “Transmissions from the Timothy Leary Papers: Applying Archival Processing” NYPL Archives Blog (26 March 2012).
- “Networked Q&A with Marvin Taylor” NYU Workshop in Archival Practice Blog (20 April 2012).
Week 3: Sept. 11
What’s in the Archive?
We’ll discuss the following, as well as our readings from last week, in relation to our field trip:
- Michel Foucault, Excerpt from Archaeology of Knowledge, Trans. Smith (Harper & Row 1972): 126-31.
- Wolfgang Ernst, “Dis/continuities: Does the Archive Become Metaphorical in Multi-Media Space?” In Wendy Hui Kyong Chun & Thomas Keenan, Eds., New Media Old Media: A History and Theory Reader (New York: Routledge, 2006): 105-123 [focus on pp. 105-6, 108-10, 112-14, 116-20; skip “A Forerunner of the Internet?,” “The Silence of the Archive,” “Global Memories,” “Retrograd…,” “Between Reading and Scanning”]
- Shannon Mattern, “Infernal Archive: Medial States of Matter in the Institute for Sound and Vision” Flow (21 May 2010).
- Shannon Mattern, “Paper, Ash & Air: Material Remembering” Talk @ 9/11 Forum on Memory, Trauma, and the Media, The New School, 9 September 2011.
We’ll continue our discussion of some of this week’s themes – including the relationships between archival memory and storage, ephemerality and erasure – in our “Databases” unit, particularly when we discuss Vannevar Bush.
Week 4 Sept. 18
Who’s In the Archive?
PRESENTATIONS: Angelica + Others?
- Terry Cook, “Archival Science and Postmodernism: New Formulations for Old Concepts” Archival Science 1:1 (2000).
- Ann Laura Stoler, “Colonial Archives and the Acts of Governance” Archival Science 2:1-2 (2002): 87-109.
- Diana Taylor, “The Archive and the Repertoire” In The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003): 16-33.
- Supplemental: Diana Taylor, “Archiving Performance: The Digital as Anti-Archive?” Animating the Archives Conference, Brown University (3-5 December 2009) [video]: search iTunes for “Animating the Archives” –> choose “Keynote” –> fast-forward to 22:00, and watch through 1:03:56.
- Skim through the Raqs Media Collective, The Atlas Group & Interference Archive.
- Melissa Morrone, “The Interference Archive Documents Radical History” Library Juice (April 10, 2012).
NO CLASS: Yom Kippur
Week 5: Oct. 2
PRESENTATIONS: Andrea, Stephen
- Sue Breakell, Introduction, “The Archival Impulse: Artists and Archives” (note that this link merely provides context for the audio) Tate Modern (16 November 2007) [audio]: search iTunes for “The Archival Impulse” + Tate –> choose Part 1 –> listen from 2:00 to 11:30.
- Hal Foster, “An Archival Impulse” October 110 (Fall 2004): 3-22.
- Susan Stewart, “Wunderkammer: An After as Before” In Ingrid Schaffner & Matthias Winzen, Eds., Deep Storage: Collecting, Storing, and Archiving in Art (New York: Prestel, 1998). [Sorry, the scan’s not great.]
- Amei Wallach, “A Conversation with Ann Hamilton in Ohio” American Art 22:1 (2008): 53-77.
Week 6: Oct. 9
Ordering Media’s “Innumerable Species”
IN-CLASS SCREENING: Mike Wesch, “Information R/evolution” (12 October 2007).
PRESENTATIONS: Willy, Oz
- Georges Perec, “Think/Classify” In Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (New York: Penguin, 1997): 188-205.
- Roy Boyne, “Classification” Theory, Culture & Society 23:2-3 (2006): 21-30.
- G. G. Chowdhury & Sundatta Chowdhury, “Organizing Information: What It Means,” “Ontology” & “Information Organization: Issues and Trends” In Organizing Information: From the Shelf to the Web (London: Facet Publishing, 2007): 1-15, 171-85, 213-24. [This isn’t the most riveting reading, but it’s good for you.]
- Clay Shirky, “Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags” Shirky.com (2005).
- David Weinberger, “Everything is Miscellaneous” [video] Google Tech Talks (10 May 2007) [57:01] [The first few minutes are a little rocky].
Friday, October 12
Archivists’ Roundtable: “Archives & Activism” Symposium,
Theresa Lang Center
Week 7: Oct. 16
Libraries: From Mesopotamia to Madison Avenue
FIELD TRIP: Morgan Library, 225 Madison Ave @ 36th Street
- “Library” Oxford English Dictionary (2010).
- Matthew Battles, Excerpts from “Burning Alexandria, “ “The House of Wisdom” & “Books for All” In Library: An Unquiet History (New York: W.W. Norton 2004): 22-81, 117-155.
- Quickly skim (just for fun!) Library Bureau, A Handbook of Library and Office Fittings and Supplies (Library Bureau, 1890).
The following will prepare us for our field trip:
- Charles E. Pierce, Jr., “Private to Public: Opening Mr. Morgan’s Library to All” In Paul Spencer Byard, et. al., Eds., The Making of the Morgan: From Charles McKim to Renzo Piano (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008): 21-32.
- Shannon Mattern, “Collected Notes on the Morgan Library for an Article I Meant to Write in 2003 But Never Did” [it’s exactly what it says it is!]
- The Morgan Library & Museum, “McKim Building Restoration.”
- Holland Cotter, “Let There Be Light, and Elegance” New York Times (28 October 2010).
Saturday, Oct. 2o, 2pm
Week 8: Oct. 23
Idiosyncratic and Unorthodox Libraries
PRESENTATIONS: Harry, Erik
- Georges Perec, “Brief Notes on the Art and Craft of Sorting Books” In Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (New York: Penguin, 1997): 148-55.
- Rob Giampietro, “On Arranging Books by Color” Design Observer (27 August 2006).
The Warburg Library
- The Warburg Institute Library and Classification Scheme
- Alberto Manguel, “The Library as Mind” The Library at Night (Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2006): 193-212.
- Barbara Maria Stafford, “Reconceiving the Warburg Library as a Working Museum of the Mind” Common Knowledge 18:1 (Winter 2012): 180-187.
The Prelinger Library
- Megan Shaw Prelinger, “To Build a Library” Bad Subjects 73 (April 2005).
- Gideon Lewis-Kraus, “A World in Three Aisles” Harper’s (May 2007).
Week 9: Oct. 30
NO CLASS BECAUSE OF HURRICANE SANDY
The Future Library
IN-CLASS SCREENING: Holmes Films, The Librarian, 1947; Alain Resnais, Toute la Mémoire du Monde, 1956
- Daniel Mendelsohn, “God’s Librarians” The New Yorker (3 January 2011): 24-30.
- David A. Bell, “The Bookless Library” The New Republic (12 July 2012).
- Shannon Mattern, “Marginalia: Little Libraries in the Urban Margins” Places (22 May 2012).
- Zachary Slobig, “Bringing Maker-Style Garage Tinkering Into the Local Library” Good (30 July 2012).
- Check out the Digital Public Library of America and, while you’re at it, stop by the Hathi Trust, too.
- Visit the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and Harvard’s Library Test Kitchen.
- Scan over the voluminous recent discussion about the future of libraries!
Week 10: Nov. 6
This week we’ll do what you want. We could return to a topic from earlier in the semester that you’d like to explore more fully. Or we could address something new. We could invite visitors to join us, go on a field trip, do a group hands-on project… Whatever.
Because we missed class last week, thanks to the hurricane, we’ll have to reorganize our schedule a bit:
- We’ll begin with Erik’s presentation, rescheduled from two weeks ago
- We’ll then spend a half-hour or so conducting a SWOT analysis of the future academic and public library, drawing on our readings from last week
- Then, for our last hour, we’ll head over to the Kellen Archives to chat with Kellen’s Director Wendy Scheir and University Librarian Ed Scarcelle about some of the issues in which you expressed interest — e.g., how the library will fit into the new University Center; what plans exist for archiving and making available student work; possible future roles that the library and archives might play in the university community; etc.
Week 11: Nov. 13
Tabula of Relationships, Orders of Things
PRESENTATION: Chris, Lara
- Michel Foucault, Preface to The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Vintage Books 1994): xv-xxiv.
- “Database” Oxford English Dictionary (2010).
- Alex Wright, “The Web Time Forgot” New York Times (17 June 2008).
- Molly Springfield, “Inside the Mundaneum” Triple Canopy 8.
- Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think” The Atlantic (July 1945).
- Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, “The Enduring Ephemeral, or the Future is a Memory” Critical Inquiry 35 (Autumn 2008): 148-171.
NO CLASS: Wednesday Classes Meet Instead
Project Proposals Due by End of Day
Week 12: Nov. 27
A Database Episteme
PROJECT PROPOSALS: Everyone shares their final project ideas.
- John Vaughn, “A Short Database History”
- Charles & Ray Eames, “The Information Machine” (1958) [film]
- Ted Byfield, “Information” In Matthew Fuller, Ed., Software Studies: A Lexicon (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008): 125-32.
- SKIM Chaim Zins, “Conceptual Approaches for Defining Data, Information, and Knowledge” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 58:4 (January 2007): 479-93.
- Alan Liu, <preface type = “general”>, <preface type = “technical”> + <argument title = “technologic” subtitle = “the blind spot on the page”> In “Transcendental Data: Toward a Cultural History and Aesthetics of the New Encoded Discourse” Critical Inquiry 31:1 (Autumn 2004): 49-63 [note: you’re reading only half the article].
- Browse through Lev Manovich’s Cultural Analytics projects.
Week 13: Dec. 4
Shannon in Sweden
READINGS (Our guests will choose their readings by 11/27, so the following list is subject to change until then)
- Lev Manovich, “Database as a Genre of New Media” AI & Society 14:2 (May 2000): 176- 83.
- Christiane Paul, “The Database as System and Cultural Form: Anatomies of Cultural Narratives” In Victoria Vesna, Ed., Database Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow (University of Minnesota Press, 2007): 95-109. (Feel free to investigate some of the projects Paul mentions here.)
- Eugene Thacker, “Database/Body: Bioinformatics, Biopolitics, and Totally Connected Media Systems” Switch 5:3
Week 14: Dec. 11
This week we’ll do what you want. We could return to a topic from earlier in the semester that you’d like to explore more fully. Or we could address something new.
We’ll be visiting Ann Hamilton’s the event of a thread installation at the Park Avenue Armory, which you can read about on e-flux. Our tickets have been paid in advance. We’ll meet at the Armory, at 643 Park Avenue (at 67th Street), at 4:15pm (to allow a little extra transit time, in case you’re coming uptown from TNS), and we’ll wrap up around 5:30 (again, to allow transit time back to campus). For more info, see this blog post.