Code, Craft & Catalogues: Arts in the Libraries


Metropolitan New York Library Council

599 11th Ave (@ 45th St), 8th Floor

March 9, 2019, 1–6pm

There is no fee to attend this event, but registration is required. Register here.

A symposium organized by The New School, Finnish Cultural Institute in New York & Metropolitan New York Library Council

Hosted by: Nate Hill & Shannon Mattern

Speakers: Burak Arikan, Salome Asega, Greta Byrum, Ilari Laamanen, Trent Miller, Laura Norris, Jussi Parikka, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Jer Thorp, Toisha Tucker, Anni Vartola

Live-documentation & zine: Neta Bomani & Cybernetics Library

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.

Jussi Parikka, Ilari Laamanen, Laura Norris and Anni Vartola discussed the Library’s Other Intelligences art project at Helsinki Central Library Oodi. Photo: Aidan Smith

Neta Bomani and The Cybernetics Library created a zine work shop as a part of the symposium live documentation. Photo: Aidan Smith

Artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed talked about her artistic work with the libraries. Photo: Aidan Smith.

Architect Anni Vartola talked about the exhibition Mind Building, that she curated for the Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2018. The pavilion explored the importance of the public library in Finnish culture. Photo: Aidan Smith


1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM
Panel 1: Privacy in Public: Digital Privacy in NYC

2:15 PM - 2:45 PM

2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
Panel 2: Helsinki / The Library's Other Intelligences @ Oodi

4:00 PM - 4:15 PM

4:15 PM - 5:30 PM
Panel 3: Group Show: An Assortment of Interventions

5:30 PM

Live-documentation & zine: Neta Bomani & Cybernetics Library

Greta Byrum, Toisha Tucker and Salome Asega presented the Metropolitan New York Library Council’s Privacy in Public Art project. Photo: Aidan Smith.

Greta Byrum, Toisha Tucker and Salome Asega presented the Metropolitan New York Library Council’s Privacy in Public Art project. Photo: Aidan Smith.

Artist Burak Arikan told about his work with complex networks. Photo: Aidan Smith.

Artist Burak Arikan told about his work with complex networks. Photo: Aidan Smith.

About our speakers:

BURAK ARIKAN is a New York and Istanbul based artist who works with complex networks. He investigates societal issues and develops his findings into abstract machinery, which generates network maps and algorithmic interfaces, results in performances, and procreates predictions to render inherent power relationships visible and discussable. Arikan’s work have been featured in numerous institutions including Venice Architecture Biennial, São Paulo Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Berlin Biennial, Neuberger Museum of Art, MoMA, SFMOMA, ISCP, FACT, SALT, Ashkal Alwan, Transmediale, Ars Electronica, and Asia Art Archive. Arikan is the founder of Graph Commons platform for mapping, analyzing, and publishing data-networks.

Salome Asega is an artist and researcher whose practice celebrates dissensus and multivocality. She is currently a Technology Fellow in the Ford Foundation's Creativity and Free Expression program and Director of Partnerships at POWRPLNT, a digital art collaboratory in Bushwick. Salome has participated in residencies and fellowships with Eyebeam, New Museum, The Laundromat Project, and Recess. She has exhibited and given presentations at the Shanghai Biennale, Performa, EYEO, and the Brooklyn Museum. Salome received her MFA from Parsons at The New School in Design and Technology where she also teaches.

Neta bomani is a black, first generation american born, multicultural east african person of tanzanian-malawian lineage. neta participates in an anti-art practice which is inclusionary and invites participation from black and brown communities. neta seeks to reveal rather than conceal social precarity and inequality through the use of tangible, accessible media such as computational objects and abolitionist gestures of resistance like organizing and making archives, writings, prints, zines, maps and circuits.

Greta Byrum reimagines the way we design, build, and govern communications systems. As Co-Director of the Digital Equity Laboratory at The New School, she builds digital justice through applied research, community projects, and policy strategy. Previously Greta built the Resilient Communities program at New America, where she developed and led Resilient Networks NYC, an initiative bringing training and for storm-hardened mesh WiFi to five neighborhoods in NYC's flood zones. Her poems have appeared in the Colorado Review, the Denver Quarterly, and various open FM frequencies.

Nate Hill began his career in libraries at Brooklyn Public Library’s Stone Avenue Branch. After almost ten years of service and several different roles within Brooklyn Public Library, he relocated to Silicon Valley to retrain and re-tool as a web designer and developer for the San Jose Public Library. Before joining METRO in June 2015, Nate served as Deputy Director of the Chattanooga Public Library, where he led the 4th Floor project, a 12,000 square foot library loft space featuring a public access makerspace, civic laboratory, and gigabit laboratory. Nate was named a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal in 2012. He earned his undergraduate degree in art from Skidmore College and an MLIS from Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science. When he’s not busy library-ing, Nate enjoys hiking, camping, art, design, and tinkering alongside his wife and kids.

Ilari Laamanen is a Project Manager at the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York and a co-founder of the transatlantic fellowship program MOBIUS. With a background in curatorial and media studies, he focuses on interdisciplinary projects, commissioning new works, and collaborating with a broad spectrum of partners. Recent curatorial work include fashion after Fashion at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and Momentum 9 Biennial in Moss, Norway. He is currently working on a publication on environmental and land art in Finland and the United States.

Shannon Mattern is a Professor at The New School. Her writing and teaching focus on archives, libraries, and other media spaces and infrastructures. She is the author of The New Downtown Library; Deep Mapping the Media City; and Code and Clay, Data and Dirt, all published by University of Minnesota Press. She contributes a regular long-form column about urban data and mediated infrastructures to Places, a journal focusing on architecture, urbanism, and landscape, and she collaborates on public design and interactive projects and exhibitions. You can find her at

Trent Miller is an artist, curator, and the Head Bubblerarian at Madison Public Library, where he spearheads the library’s artist-focused program The Bubbler. Miller has orchestrated large-scale art events, including Bookless (2012), Stacked (2014), and MUNICIPAL (2018), which have been catalysts for other happenings in Madison and beyond. In 2015, Library Journal recognized him as a Mover & Shaker. Miller centers his energies on establishing the public library as a platform for creative and innovative art events, shows, and workshops and has recently expanded that vision by founding Library Artslink, a resource for facilitating collaborations between artists and libraries.

Laura Norris is a Service Manager at the Helsinki Central Library Oodi, which is the new public library in Helsinki. She has been in the library business for over 15 years. She started out as a librarian, and then worked for several years in library web services, marketing and events. Before her current position, she worked as the Chief Librarian of Kallio Library – the third-busiest public library in Helsinki. Her passion is in leadership, now developing the Teal way of working together with the Oodi staff. Developing the future library together with patrons as well as putting the strategy into action with the 54 staff members in Oodi is a thrilling adventure.

Jussi Parikka is Professor in Technological Culture & Aesthetics at University of Southampton’s Winchester School of Art. He is the founding director (with Ryan Bishop) of the Archaeologies of Media and Technology (AMT) research group and the author of several books on media theory and digital culture. These include What is Media Archaeology? (2012), Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology (2010) and A Geology of Media (2015) as well as several edited volumes, including Across and Beyond: a transmediale Reader on Post-Digital Practices, Concepts and Institutions (2016, co-editor) and Writing and Unwriting (Media) Art History: Erkki Kurenniemi in 2048 (2015, co-editor with Joasia Krysa). With Shannon Mattern, he was the curator of the Library’s Other Intelligences exhibition at Oodi Library, Helsinki. Personal site:

Kameelah Janan Rasheed is an artist and learner who seeks to make her thinking visible through an ecosystem of iterative and provisional projects/processes. This includes sprawling xerox-based “architecturally-scaled collages” (Frieze Magazine, Winter 2018), publications, large-scale text banner installations, digital archives, lecture performances, library interventions, and other forms yet to be determined. Her work has been exhibited at the 2017 Venice Biennale, Institute of Contemporary Art - Philadelphia, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, Bronx Museum, New Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Printed Matter, The Kitchen, Jack Shainman Gallery, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Project Row Houses, Pinchuk Art Centre, Bétonsalon - Centre d'art et de recherche, and others. Her current solo show, Scoring the Stacks at Brooklyn Public Library (Central) invites visitors to wander and explore the library stacks through a series of scores.

Jer Thorp is an artist, writer and teacher living in New York City. He is best known for designing the algorithm to place the nearly 3,000 names on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. Jer was the New York Times' first Data Artist in Residence, is a former National Geographic Explorer, and in from 2017-2019 served as the Innovator in Residence at the Library of Congress. Jer’s book, Living in Data, will be published in 2020 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Toisha Tucker is an interdisciplinary conceptual artist and writer living in the Bronx and working across the universe. Their work explores social constructions around race, gender, and identity and the faltering relationship between technology and human empathy (think Black Mirror). They are the 2018-2019 Alice C. Cole Fellow at Wellesley College, Affiliated Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and Alumni of Bemis. Their short fiction After Jacob’s Room was published in the 2016 Vassar Review. They hold a BA from Cornell University and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Design. Find them at

Anni Vartola is a Helsinki-based architect, architecture critic and scholar in postmodern architectural theory. She works as the Senior Lecturer in theory of architecture at the Department of Architecture in Aalto University and contributes regularly to architectural publications in Finland and abroad. Her current research interests are critical regionalism in Finnish architecture and the architectural history of Finnish public libraries. Her most recent works includes curating the Mind-Building exhibition for the Pavilion of Finland at the Venice Biennale 2018. Besides her work as a teacher and writer, Vartola devotes her spare time to her online architecture bookshop at

Cover image: Johanna Lundberg