How do libraries act as correctives? How do they become sites of interventions, gatherings, and radical storytelling?
This event brings together C& Center of Unfinished Business in Berlin, Keleketla! Library in Johannesburg, and Sister Library in Mumbai to explore the transformative potential of libraries in the cultural field.
The C& Center of Unfinished Business discusses how an itinerant reading room highlights traces of colonialism in the holdings of existing institutional libraries. Keleketla! Library introduces how a library initiates advocacy programmes to gather stakeholders in the fields of culture, heritage, and governance. Sister Library investigates the tension between temporary and semi-permanent reading sites to contribute to discussions of feminisms.
This talk is organised as part of Correction*, the 2022–24 Vera List Center Focus Theme, its exhibition by C& Center of Unfinished Business at The New School, and Asia Art Archive’s ongoing inquiry about libraries as spaces for gathering and co-learning.
Keleketla! Library, Johannesburg
Mearg Negusse, C& Center of Unfinished Business, Berlin
Aqui Thami, Sister Library, Mumbai
Özge Ersoy, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong
Eriola Pira, Curator and Director of Public Programs, Vera List Center for Art and Politics
C& Center of Unfinished Business is a reading room offering visitors a selection of books touching upon colonialism in various ways—from German colonies and Congolese fashion, to the capital markets of the twenty-first century. The Center’s traveling library has collaborated in diverse ways with institutions such as Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), the Academy of Arts, and transmediale in Berlin; documenta 14’s Peppermint at Kassel and school in Vienna.
Keleketla! Library is a timeless, radical storytelling and narrative portal; an arts archive; a cultural production and educational workshop; as well as performance space in Johannesburg and worldwide formed through collaborations, emergent platforms, and media. Founded in 2008, Keleketla! Library nurtures autonomous and interdependent forms of cultural production while holding governments accountable for just provisions of infrastructural support.
Sister Library is a community-owned feminist library based in Mumbai. The library acts as a site of reading, art, and activism, and features more than 1,700 publications by women, including zines, artists’ books, graphic novels, fiction, and poetry books. Sister Library was launched in 2018 as a travelling project and has since found a temporary home in 2019.
The Vera List Center for Art and Politics is a research center and public forum for art, culture, and politics. It was established at The New School in 1992—a time of rousing debates about freedom of speech, identity politics, and society’s investment in the arts. A leader in the field, the center is a nonprofit organisation that serves a critical mission: to foster a vibrant and diverse community of artists, scholars, and policymakers who take creative, intellectual, and political risks to bring about positive change.