neta bomani is a worker who engages in social practices like oral history and direct action through organizing and making archives, writings, prints, zines, computational objects and workshops. neta's work has materialized as an educator of pioneer works after school programs, an organizer of the school for poetic computation, a member of stephanie dinkins studio and a participator in grassroots organizing against prisons and borders in new york city and beyond.


archive

Code, Craft & Catalogues: Arts in the Libraries

Design by Johanna Lundberg.

Design by Johanna Lundberg.

On March 9, 2019, myself and the Cybernetics Library (Melanie Hoff, Dan Taeyoung, Sarah Hammerman and David Hecht) led a workshop at Metro Studio for “Code, Craft & Catalogues: Arts in the Libraries,” a half-day symposium co-organized by the Metropolitan New York Library Council, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and the New School.

Toisha Tucker presenting to the left of a projector in the center on the first panel entitled “Privacy in Public.” The panel featured Tucker alongside Salome Asega and Greta Byrum, who are sitting at tables to the right of the projector and watching Tucker present. Some panel attendees are shown in the foreground of the image.

Toisha Tucker presenting to the left of a projector in the center on the first panel entitled “Privacy in Public.” The panel featured Tucker alongside Salome Asega and Greta Byrum, who are sitting at tables to the right of the projector and watching Tucker present. Some panel attendees are shown in the foreground of the image. Photo by Aidan Grant.

The symposium, which consisted of three panels presented by Greta Byrum, Toisha Tucker, Salome Asega, Anni Vartola, Laura Norris, Jussi Parikka, Ilari Laamanen, Trent Miller, Jer Thorp, Burak Arikan and Kameelah Janan Rasheed, discussed the following:

“What role do the arts and design play in today’s libraries? Our major public institutions frequently commission high-profile public art, some libraries feature dedicated exhibition space, and artists and designers have long drawn inspiration from archival and library collections. Yet today, as we access and create knowledge through an expanding array of designed platforms and interfaces, infrastructures and algorithms, aesthetic operations are integral to the core services that libraries provide. We see a growing number of library- and archive-based artists’ residencies and exhibitions, and expanding interest in more sustained collaborations across the library and art worlds. In this symposium we gather librarians, artists, designers, and representatives from allied fields to examine recent examples of library-centered creative practice, discuss the mutual benefits of such collaborations, and propose new models for growing and sustaining these partnerships.” —Shannon Mattern

Two large white work tables perpendicular to one another made up what we called the Zine Hub. Participants are crowded around the tables, socializing and/or crafting a zine on the table to the right.

Two large white work tables perpendicular to one another made up what we called the Zine Hub. Participants are crowded around the tables, socializing and/or crafting a zine on the table to the right. Photo by Aidan Grant.

The Cybernetics Library and I live documented the event in the form of a zine-making workshop. Participants took part in a collective note-taking exercise to experiment with social archiving as art. Our objective was to encourage participants to think about creating an archive the extend beyond the livestream, Twitter feed etc. and to consider experimenting with archiving the social environment at Metro Studio, how they felt in their bodies and generative ideas which formed as a result of the panels and interactions throughout the symposium.

A close up of a stack of 10-15 worksheets printed on neon purple paper. The main title reads, “Arts in the Libraries” stylized in a black colored sans-serif font surrounded by a blob shape with a neon green dashed outline. The subtile reads, “Zine-making Worksheet.”

A close up of a stack of 10-15 worksheets printed on neon purple paper. The main title reads, “Arts in the Libraries” stylized in a black colored sans-serif font surrounded by a blob shape with a neon green dashed outline. The subtile reads, “Zine-making Worksheet.” Photo by Aidan Grant.

To facilitate, we created a worksheet filled with prompts like:

Three workshop participants check out printed matter available at Metro Studio.

Three workshop participants check out printed matter available at Metro Studio. Photo by Aidan Grant.

Participants were instructed to:

Timelapse of the creation of the zine.

Timelapse of the creation of the zine. Each spread of the zine corresponded to each if the three panels that happened during the symposium.

By the end of the symposium, we made a zine which you can download and print here.