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[BKARTS] The Library Project and Symposium



The Library Project at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

The Library Project is an installation of artworks that explore the
nature of the library: its vastness, its continuing proliferation, and the
peculiarities of its organization. The project is by Professor of Art
Jeffrey Schiff with students James Jacobus '03, Myra Rasmussen '04, and Aki
Sasamoto '04. On display through November 30th, 2003.  For more
information, see http://thelibraryproject.wesleyan.edu/.

THE LIBRARY PROJECT SYMPOSIUM:
OF FISHES, MONSTERS, AND LIBRARIES

A symposium on the organization of knowledge in the library and the disciplines

Barbara Jones, Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian, Moderator

Suzy Taraba, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections
         Every Book Its Reader: A History of Library Classification

Andrew Curran, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
         Classifying Monstrosities

Barry Chernoff, Director of Environmental Studies Program
         Is Biology Putting Organisms In The Right Shelves?

Jeffrey Schiff, Professor of Art and Art History
         The Ecstatic of the Library

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2003
         4:15pm

WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY, Middletown, CT
OLIN MEMORIAL LIBRARY, Smith Reading Room

Free And Open To The Public

For more information, contact Suzy Taraba at (860) 685-3375 or
staraba@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Sponsored by Olin Memorial Library, the Department of Art and Art History,
and the Mellon Center
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - -
press release on Jeffrey Schiff's Library Project:

Where Numbers Equal Books in the Name of Art

(MIDDLETOWN, CT) -- There is something strangely
familiar about the string of numbers and letters
on the wall at Neon Deli in Middletown. A similar
string is posted in O'Rourke's Diner. And at the
Destinta Theater. And all over the Wesleyan
University Campus.

Secret code? A new Homeland Security initiative? International phone numbers?

Library books.

New numbers are part of an intriguing art
installation created by Jeffrey Schiff, a
professor of art at Wesleyan. Each number - there
are more than 500 of them - corresponds to a
specific book in the Wesleyan's four on-campus
Libraries. The books, in turn, relate to
something about the physical location where the
call numbers were placed.

For example, the number placed above the meat
slicer at Neon Deli, GT2860 R36 2003, is the call
number for How we eat : appetite, culture, and
the psychology of food by Leon Rappoport. The
call number at O'Rourke's - NA7855.G87 2000 is
the number for American diner : then and now  by
Richard J.S. Gutman. A number on a tree by a
local parking lot, QK477.2.6 T73 1999 refers to
Tree-ring analysis : biological, methodological,
and environmental aspects edited by R. Wimmer and
R.E. Vetter. A number on the front of Wesleyan's
Olin Memorial Library, LC 3.4/2: 92/2003 is a
match for a series of copyright information
circulars from the Library of Congress. Copyright
Office.

And there are more than 500 others.

Schiff says the installation in part came out of
his desire to do a project that would "explore
the institution of the library as an index to the
larger world." It is also has roots in a project
he did in the mid-1990s that used art to explore
the foundations and presuppositions of Diderot's
Encyclopedia.

The idea is to challenge people to see the
profound influence of the library on their daily
lives and draw them into the library.

"The basic strategy has been to mark the world in
terms of the library," Schiff says, "This project
aims to reverse the customary view that the
library is an index to the world, and instead to
see the world as an index to the expanding
universe of the library."

It also offers a clear element of fun.

More than two years in the making, the
installation was created by Schiff and three of
his students. It is one of eight art exhibits
created by his group for the Olin Library. The
others are titled "Planet," "Yeast," "Deluge,"
"Number," "Worlds of·," "Masterpiece,"
"Excavations" and "Index." The projects are
supported by The Christian Johnson Foundation,
Wesleyan's Office of Academic Affairs, and Olin
Memorial Library.

For more information contact Jeffrey Schiff at
860-685-3525 or jschiff@xxxxxxxxxxxx

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