User:Simon/pre & post lockdown overview

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state of the project before the lockdown

This summary provides an overview of the project as it was at lockdown on March 13th, 2020.

state of the project now

As it is not possible to continue with publicly programmed events, I have turned my focus to documentation of the project as it ran from July 2019 to March 2020.

written documentation

My thesis has been an activated text - used as part of bootleg library sessions. This text has been fundamental to both the reflection on, and shaping of tasks performed at the site of contingencies, the bootleg library. I plan to continue writing further documentation on both technical and social aspects of the project.

the index

A central focus is on the index. The thesis text I produced is in the form of an index of A6 printed cards, and my plan is to leave behind an index when the library closes (see below).

A large part of the project revolved around the use of the PDF file format, both as commonly included file in the digital library, as well as one produced to republish printed books for the physical bootleg library.

I am currently working with scripts that work with the digital library's metadata.db file, a python library called calibrestekje written by Luke Murphy, ReportLab and platypus (pdf engines) to produce A6 index cards, one side documenting a text included in the library, and the other documenting the reader(s) connected to the text. My thesis is that the library is a collection; of texts and also the readers collected around them. The bootleg library is a social infrastructure which represents knowledge and readers on an equal footing. My plan is to include both of these in the index that I will publish.

what were the next steps you were planning to take before the lockdown

Before lockdown, my plan was to continue the three main activities of the bootleg library:

1) bootlegging, republishing and distributing printed books

2) conducting bootleg library sessions in various locations

3) producing texts

These three activities are intertwined. The bootlegged and republished books are used at bootleg library sessions to activate discussion, and produce texts (here I am using the word "text" to mean not only written words, but also conversations that are elicited and metadata written for books that are uploaded at bootleg library sessions).

I had been invited to take part in several public events that were also to add to the project, prior to the lockdown.

  1. I was invited to organise events as part of Onomatopee's Meeting Grounds project, including a bootleg library session, a Marginal Conversations workshop, a radio show interview and a joint workshop with representatives of Varia and XPPL, which we called the "Boekstekje Bureau". These were to take place throughout March. I conducted one bootleg library session at Onomatopee on March 6th, before the entire public program (as a series of meetups) was postponed due to the lockdown. Meeting Grounds moved to an online series of events focusing on online public spaces, and an upcoming publication. I was invited to contribute to this publication, for which I have written an essay, titled text, tbc, that examines the editorial, technical and social perspectives on text, and Etherpad as an exemplar of these.
  2. I was invited to participate in an exhibition in Amsterdam, curated by a well-known curatorial institution. The exhibition could not go ahead due to the lockdown, but they have expressed interest in curating a different kind of format of a publication, for which I have suggested publishing my thesis text Tasks of the Contingent Librarian.
  3. I was planning to run another bootleg library session at Page Not Found, a cultural space in the Hague. This was to happen on May 15th. It is assumed that this event is now cancelled.
  4. I had also been invited to participate in a media art festival in Austria. It is uncertain if this will go ahead.

My plan was to continue organising public events (mostly in the form of bootleg library sessions), at least one each month.

what are the next steps you need to take with your project given the new situation

The bootleg library was never intended to exist in perpetuity. Prior to the lockdown, my plan was to close the library. This has not changed.

Practically speaking, the library may continue to operate, however, this gesture of "closure" is to mark an end to the project. It is also to assert that no library is encyclopedic and what is important is not complete documentation of all knowledge, but of the particular, situated nature of a collection (of both texts and readers) that existed at a certain time.

What I need to do now is to make sure that in the remaining time for the project to run, that the documentation is clear, and at a standard that I am satisfied with, in substance and medium.