Goethe-Institut New York Exhibition Reimagines Libraries in a Digital Age


“Every day one should at least hear one little song, read one good poem, see one fine painting and -- if at all possible -- speak a few sensible words.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Spiral Staircase, Interior of the Goethe-Institut New York, by jglsongs on flickr.

Spiral Staircase, Interior of the 
Goethe-Institut New York, by jglsongs on flickr

METRO's recent post on makerspaces and libraries examined how the makerspace movement was leading some libraries to reconfigure their physical space to encourage more collaborative work, pedagogical engagement, and group activities oriented around creative and inventive endeavors.

An upcoming exhibition at the Goethe-Institut New York contemplates a similar trope, albeit from an aesthetic perspective. The Goethe-Institut is presenting The End(s) of the Library, an eight-month exhibition featuring a number of installations, lectures, performances, and workshops that conceptualize the library as a dynamic, evolving network of meanings, forms, possibilities, and values, or, as the exhibition announcement says, “an institution whose ends are without end.” The exhibition is an excellent example of a project that aims to encourage artistic and creative communities to reconfigure the meaning and possibilities of libraries and archives in the digital age.

Included in the eight-month exhibit are artists Julieta Aranda, Fia Backström & R. Lyon, David Horvitz, Christian Philipp Müller, architectural firm common room, and independent publisher The Serving Library. The exhibitions, lectures, and special events will cover a range of topics, from explicating digital rights management (DRM) within the library, to creating digital artists books for public domain release, to archival exchange programs, to projects examining the meaning of digital repositories in structuring knowledge and meaning of cultural artifacts. The exhibition will lead to the creation both of installations and reconfigurations of public space and also a variety of digital and print publications related to the exhibition and its themes. The overall exhibition looks to be a dynamic example of bringing together creative communities and cultural heritage collections in new and exciting ways. Information on the opening event can be found on this webpage and ongoing details of the eight-month exhibition will be posted to the exhibition's dedicated website.

The exhibition is free and open to the public and the opening reception is currently scheduled for tomorrow:

October 30, 6:00-8:00pm
Goethe-Institut New York
72 Spring Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10012

Note: due to the weather, this event maybe be postponed, please contact the Goethe-Institut directly for more information. Their contact info:

Tel. +1 (212) 439-8700

The exhibition runs through June 2013. Please contact the Goethe-Institute directly for further information.