Arts Collaboratory

Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory

Posted on: Friday 12 January 2018
“If these exhibitions [House of Wisdom and The Library of Unread Books] clarify anything, it is that collections of books, however random or personal they might be, possess an enormous charge in their collective capacity. The book collection does not just serve decorative purposes, but it can actually be applied to activist or ideological means. The traveling aspect of these library exhibitions makes it a contemporary method of collectively sharing knowledge worldwide that might even be more significant than other global knowledge mediums such as the internet. Presenting these traveling libraries in the context of the contemporary art institution highlights the political aspect of a collection, something that is often overlooked due to the everyday presence of books.” In a thoughtful piece (in Dutch) for Metropolis M, art historian Liesbeth Visee reflects on the current exhibition phenomenon of presenting libraries and books as cultural and political objects. Highlighting the ongoing project exhibition of The Library of Unread Books by Heman Chong and Renée Staal at Casco and the recent 'House of Wisdom' exhibition by Collective Çukurcuma at Framer Framed in Amsterdam, Visee emphasizes the socio-political potential of book collections. The double project exhibitions Army of Love with Dora García and Ingo Niermann and The Library of Unread Books are still on view at Casco until 25 February 2018. For more information on the Library and how to donate your own unread book to it, please see here: