Art, knowledge production, and community: on the Martha Rosler Library

Bowman, Matthew (2023) Art, knowledge production, and community: on the Martha Rosler Library. In: ArLis UK and Ireland Annual Conference - GENERATIVE SPACES The Creative Powers of the Art Library, 3 - 4 July, Norwich. (Unpublished)

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In the midst of the participatory turn that defined significant aspects of art in the beginning of the 21st century, a number of artists created spaces that sometimes took the form of small ad-hoc libraries alongside other spaces dedicated towards information retrieval. At the mammoth Documenta11 in Kassel (2002), for instance, Meschac Gaba, Thomas Hirschhorn, and the Raqs Media Collective all sought to distil the exhibition’s decolonial ethos and its fascination with knowledge produced at social peripheries by creating artworks that took the form of libraries. A few years later, the artist Martha Rosler exhibited a portion of her library as part of unitednationsplaza.

Such works sought to activate the audience’s participatory potential and agency. But in changing the spectator into a ‘spect-actor’ and researcher, what kind of agency is unleashed by these artworks? Moreover, there are also important questions about artworks that utilize or parallel post-Fordism’s emphasis upon knowledge and cognition as the drivers of the Western economy. Can the knowledge communities envisaged by these projects indicate an alternative to the Neoliberal regime of capitalism?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Martha Rosler Library, fine art, libraries, artworks, archiving
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Matthew Bowman
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2023 07:45
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 07:45

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