Public Library


In the catalog of History the institution of public library is listed in the category of phenomena of which we humans are most proud. Along with free public education, public healthcare, the scientific method, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Wikipedia, free software… It’s one of those almost invisible infrastructures that we start to notice only once they go extinct. A place where all people can get access to all knowledge that can be collected seemed for a long time a dream beyond reach – until the egalitarian impetus of social revolutions, the Enlightenment idea of universality of knowledge, and the exceptional suspension of the commercial barriers of copyright made it possible.

The Internet has, as in many other situations, completely changed our expectations and imagination about what is possible. The dream of a catalogue of the world – a universal access to all available knowledge for every member of society – became realizable. A question merely of the meeting of curves on a graph: the point at which the line of global distribution of personal computers meets that of the critical mass of people with access to the Internet. Today nobody lacks the imagination necessary to see public libraries as part of a global infrastructure of universal access to knowledge for literally every member of society. However, the emergence and development of the Internet is taking place precisely at the point at which an institutional crisis — one with traumatic and inconceivable consequences — has also begun.

In the catalog of History, the emancipatory revolutions are listed in the category of phenomena of which we humans are most proud. They empower the oppressed and give them the means to reach their dreams. That the dream of public library in the age of internet, the dream of universal access to all human knowledge, should not be relinquished. We cannot let this happen. And artists and hackers and potentially everyone else can take it upon themselves to make this dream a reality.

Melvil Dewey would be happy. »Free schools & free libraries for every soul« shall never wither away.


Timeline of Public Library

► “Nervous systems”, Workshop, at HKW, Berlin, April 2016. | www.hkw.de

► “Prevazići paradigmu tehnologije kontrole”, lecture at “Moje, tvoje, naše” festival, Filodrammatica/Drugo more, Rijeka, April 2016. | drugo-more.hr

► “Custodians.online – The Struggle over the Future of »Pirate« Libraries and Universal Access to Knowledge”, at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, February 2016. | schloss-post.com

► “Public Library/Memory of the World”, Lecture, at 32C3, Hamburg, February 2016. | ccc.de

► “In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub”. Custodians.online, November 2015. | custodians.online

► “Terms of Media II: Actions”, Lecture, at Brown University, Providence, October 2015. | brown.edu

► “Written Off” Exhibition, at Galerija Nova, Zagreb, June/July 2015. | otpisane.org

► “Public Libray” Exhibition, Conference & Workshop, at Galerija Nova, Zagreb, May/June 2015. | mi2.hr

► “Public Library Workshop” at Common Media Lab, Lüne­burg, April 2015. | memoryoftheworld.org

► “Digital Commons: Towards other Ecologies of Art”, at Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, March 2015 | museoreinasofia.es

► “Public Library. Rethinking the Infrastructures of Knowledge Production” at Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart and Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, October 2014 | wkv-stuttgart.de

► “Really Useful Knowledge” at Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, October 2014 | museoreinasofia.es

► Hackaleda, Marinelada, October 2014 | sindominio.net

► “The VOLUME project” at 98weeks, Beirut, September 2014 | 98weeks.net

► “Nothing will happen”, Filodrammatica, Rijeka, August 2014 | drugo-more.hr

► In chapter “On/Off/Line” in “Radical Tactics of the Offline Library” book by Henry Warwick, Amsterdam, June 2014 | networkcultures.org

► “Off the Press: Electronic Publishing in Arts”, Rotterdam, May 2014 | digitalpublishingtoolkit.org

► “Commons senses” at Manchester School of Art, Manchester, April 2014 | art.mmu.ac.uk

► “Hack the biblio” at Calafou, Vallbona d´Anoia (Barcelona), April 2014 | calafou.org

► “Taking care of things!” at Leuphana University (PostMedia Lab), Lüneburg, January 2014 | activearchives.org

► “Complicity” (Berliner Gazette) at SUPERMARKET, November 2013 | berlinergazette.de

► “Free?!” at Het Nieuwe Instituut, November 2013 | freeculture.info

► “FREE LIBRARIES FOR EVERY SOUL” at Impakt Festival, Utrecht, November 2013 | monnik.org

► “Dear Art” at Calvert 22 Gallery, London, September 2013 | calvert22.org

► “An Archive/Live Archive/UnArchive and Public Library workshop” at new media center_kuda.org, Novi Sad, July 2013 | a.thinkdoshare.net

► “Shared Digital Futures”, Vienna, June 2013 | world-information.net

► “Commoning the City” at Arkitekturmuseet, Stockholm, April 2013 | kkh.se

► “Post-digital Publishing Workshop” at Transmediale, Berlin, February 2013 | transmediale.de

► “Dear Art” at Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, November 2012 | mg-lj.si

► “HAIP 2012: Public Library / Javna knjižnica”, Ljubljana, November 2012 | web.archive.org

► “LIBRE GRAPHICS RESEARCH UNIT MEETING” at WORM, Rotterdam, September 2012 | worm.org

► “G33koskop seminar: O arhivi i knjižnici” at MaMa, Zagreb, December 2011 | najave.razmjenavjestina.org