Eros In The Library
01 Sep 2022
I am convinced that dismantling systems that support patriarchy requires not simply updating, revising, or adding to them, but inhabiting and re-inscribing spaces using techniques and language from outside of those systems. This involves taking the idea of a maker-space/incubator into the entire library, into the stacks themselves to work intimately with the textures of the books and to nurture relationships.
I will suggest that we might regard Pamphila as an early feminist cataloguer, who, instead of organizing her histories according to categories, introduced a method derived from weaving and embroidery. Her organizational method privileged beauty and pleasure, along with historical accuracy and usefulness.
Might weaving or embroidering the library space – not metaphorically, not in the craft room, and not in online networks, but in and along and across the stacks, with threads of many colours, with books, and with other people – afford different erotic encounters in the library?
Our intertextual encounters might be thought of as imaginary threads, or desire lines, that refuse or dismantle the disciplinary lines.
|The Stuff of Science Fiction, a digital collection of science fiction anthologies collected by Bob Gibson, and a screenshot of the Speculative W@nderverse, a creative way of visualizing connections with the collection|
The ordered shelves might be considered the weaver’s warp. And the lines that readers draw across texts are the weft. But rather than straight lines that run neatly perpendicular to the warp, readers’ lines are unruly. They intersect and are likely to get knotted up in dif- ferent parts of the library, depending on any reader’s desires and interests.
Blockquotes pulled from Melissa Adler, “Eros in the Library: Considering the Aesthetics of Knowledge Construction,” ‘‘Art Libraries Journal’’ 44.2 (2019): 67-71.