Saturday, December 08, 2001

Autodafe, the Censored Library:

Autodafe's vocation is to reactivate exchange - nowadays injured not only by censorship but also by the hegemony of the media - between writers of the five continents. This journal unites world-renowned writers with those who are being silenced by censorship, imprisonment or threats. Beyond individuals, Autodafe intends to give a voice to peoples and experiences struck mute, to vanishing cultures, to endangered languages. Autodafe is published twice a year and simultaneously in eight languages . . .

A project of the International Parliament of Writers. Also worth checking out is Margaret Drabble's article on Autodafe and the IPW in today's Guardian.

Friday, December 07, 2001


[The Scotsman]

Not much in the way of library news today, and I can't bring myself to dwell on this week's spate of dispiriting assaults on civil liberties, so I give you instead this entertaining story of sin-soaked mayhem and renegade publishing featuring Norman Mailer, Alexander Trocchi, and a cast of hundreds . . .

Norman Mailer has vivid memories of Edinburgh in 1962. "If towns had spirits, they would probably have good spirits and evil spirits," he says. "Edinburgh had very many evil spirits loose for those few days. It was somethin’."

The something that it was centred on was the Writers’ Conference, which took place in Edinburgh University’s McEwan Hall - "the big beer belly hall" Mailer calls it . . .

The writer Mary McCarthy described the event in a letter to her friend Hannah Arendt: "People jumping up and down to confess they were homosexuals or heterosexuals; a registered heroin addict leading the young Scottish opposition to the literary tyranny of the Communist Hugh MacDiarmid ... an English woman describing her communications with her dead daughter, a Dutch homosexual, former male nurse, now a Catholic convert, seeking someone to baptise him; a bearded Sikh with his hair down to his waist, declaring on the platform that homosexuals were incapable of love, just as (he said) hermaphrodites were incapable of orgasm (Stephen Spender, in the chair, murmured that he should have thought they could have two) . . . "

Revolting Librarians Redux:

This book is intended as a follow-up to Celeste West and Elizabeth Katz's Revolting Librarians (San Francisco: Booklegger Press, 1972). We want library workers to write insightful critiques of any aspect of librarianship. A special section on the 1972 book's impact is also planned. In the spirit of the original book, all contributions should be as readable and interesting as possible.

Thursday, December 06, 2001

First Stockhausen, now Boulez:

Pierre Boulez was sleeping in his five star Swiss hotel when police dragged him from bed and informed him he was on their national list of terrorist suspects.

In the revolutionary 1960s, it seems that Boulez said that opera houses should be blown up, comments which the Swiss felt made him a potential security threat.

Any votes on who the next cantankerous modern music genius to be swept up in the post-9/11 dragnet will be?

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Michael Moore's New Book Scrapped as "Offensive":

Michael Moore was the keynote speaker at the convention of NJ Citizen Action which I attended this past Saturday. He told the assembled audience of 100+ people that his publisher HarperCollins had informed him that they will not be selling/distributing his new book "Stupid White Men and Other Excuses for the State of the Nation" --already printed -- because the content is offensive. He reported that the publisher also told him that he (Moore) is being "intellectually dishonest" not to state that GW Bush has done a good job in the last few months. Moore said that he has been told that the book will NOT be distributed as is, will be destroyed, and that if he will rewrite AND pay for the repinting of the book Harpercollins will publish the new version . . .

More from the latest Library Juice.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Fluxus collaborator Ken Friedman's work "52 Events" has been published after a 34 year delay:

Ken Friedman's events are a classic example of the subtle, multivalent art form known as intermedia.

This edition documents Ken Friedman's contribution to the early days of intermedia and conceptual art. The original Fluxus edition of Friedman's Events was planned in 1966 for publication in the spring of 1967. Edited and designed by George Maciunas, the 1967 Fluxus edition waited on a large-scale printing order that never materialized. While waiting for the Fluxus edition, Friedman began exhibiting his event scores and circulating them in small editions of various kinds.

In 1973, the University of California at Davis organized an exhibition exclusively composed of Friedman's events. This exhibition marked the first time that a Fluxus artist presented an exhibition comprised solely of text-based events. The exhibition toured the world in the 1970s, with editions of scores appearing in English and in translation. When the premature death of George Maciunas ended the Fluxus publishing program, Friedman continued to work with the event structure, adding to the corpus of events in a continuing series. . .

It can be also be downloaded for free (Acrobat required).

Monday, December 03, 2001


E.U. to Create Databases of "Suspected" Protestors:

The Council of the European Union (the 15 EU governments) are discussing plans to create two new dedicated databases on the Schengen Information System (SIS). The first database would cover public order and protests and lead to:

"Barring potentially dangerous persons from participating in certain events [where the person is] notoriously known by the police forces for having committed recognised facts of public order disturbance"

"Targeted" suspects would be tagged with an "alert" on the SIS and barred from entry the country where the protest or event was taking place.

Thanks to Politech.
FM1 New Definitions: Value, Community, Space:

The impact on society of the technologies of "digitisation" is universal and ubiquitous, affecting everything. But how does this digitisation change our basic concepts about society?

FM 1 New Definitions will bring together some of the world's leading thinkers and doers in various fields-from anthropology to law, economics to information technology-to ask: What, if anything, is new about the way we redefine our understanding of these concepts? Topics covered include: notions of value, non-monetary economic activity; measurement without prices, free software;
the meaning of money, electronic currencies; communities, social networks; reputation, trust and identity; formal and informal law, dissappearing borders and Internet jurisdiction; space, information and navigation; political space, government, new media and freedom; and, geographical space, access, impact and inequality.

Organized by First Monday and the International Institute of Infonomics.

Sunday, December 02, 2001

Library, London, circa 1950

Library, London, circa 1950

One of thousands of images available via the UK's Visual Arts Data Service.


Geekcorps Makes Donation to U.S Embassy Library in Ghana:

The Martin Luther King Jr. Library of the US Embassy has received a donation of computer programming books from the Geekcorps, a non-profit organisation committed to expanding the Internet revolution internationally by pairing skilled volunteers from the high-tech world with small businesses in the developing world.

The books, worth over $6,000 cover a wide range of computer programming topics such as Java, Perl/TK, Networks, Web Navigation, Oracle Database Administration, Visual Basic and Internet Firewalls . . .

A bit more on Geekcorps' work in Ghana can be found at InfoWorld.

[Sunday Times]

A UK "library revival":

Around the same time that futurologists were predicting the paperless office and the death of the cinema, things were looking bad for that ancient institution, the library. A building full of books? Surely such a thing would be swept away by the rush of new technology? And now, here we are in 2001. Last year, a new public library in Peckham won the Stirling Prize for Architecture. Last month, Norfolk’s mighty new county library opened in The Forum in Norwich, a return-to-form building by Sir Michael Hopkins. Hackney is building a new central library and museum. Brighton, Bournemouth and Swindon are making plans. Birmingham has just launched an architectural competition for what could be the first big state-of-the-art public library of the 21st century — replacing its vast, crumbling 1970s version. It is likely to cost at least £50m, and more likely £65m . . .