THE UNIVERSE (Which Others Call The Library)...

Activity: OtherPublic engagement, outreach and knowledge exchange - Public Lecture/debate/seminar


This event is an artists exposition of the British Library as one of the first institutions to tackle the problem of how to organise public access to potentially limitless amounts of information. It is inspired by the many remarkable things I discovered there during my research as artist-in-residence (part of the AHRC funded “Internet of Cultural Things” set up by Mark Cote and Jussi Parikka).

The British Library describes itself as “the World's Knowledge”, containing everything from the Magna Carta to handwritten lyrics by The Beatles. But some of the most important knowledge it holds concerns how the library itself operates and its role in the history of storing and accessing massive quantities of information. Much of this is embodied in rare items and documents which are unknown to the outside world, obscure yet key components of a hugely complex infrastructure or oddities that are the side effects of running a centuries old national institution and repository. They include catalogues, reports and letters as well as archive photos and operational documents such as guidelines and diagrams, databases and electronic systems. Using a combination of screen based display and physical exhibits, this seminar will expose these articles so that they can be discussed, demonstrated and in some cases handled. It will bring out the significance of some of the British Library's least known collection items and their relevance to the cultural history of today's information systems in a direct and engaging way.

This seminar has so far been delivered at the British Library (28/10/2016) and at the Mayday Rooms organisation (11/03/2017).
Period28 Oct 2016 → …


  • Data Science
  • Digital Humanties
  • History of Technology
  • cultural history