Spring term begins: We welcome graduate students and faculty to the space, inventory new books, prepare social media posts, communicate with guests about upcoming programs, organize travel, coordinate student workshops, build additional bookshelves, work on grant applications, and host unexpected visitors for late-afternoon coffees. The mix of people working, shopping, conversing, reading, writing—coming and going—casts the scene with a welcoming feeling. There is a hum. The CRB, illuminated by the raking sunlight of late winter, is now packed with more than 1000 titles from across the world. The books and range of activities combined with our programs and our graduate seminars account for different modes of knowledge production, different ways that learning happens at CRB.
“Distribution as Practice” is our theme this month. We view the CRB as a testing ground for thinking broadly about distribution, a platform for choreographing and connecting people, spaces, ideas and printed matter. Distribution as practice identifies, selects and organizes information—makes it legible, thus transforming it into knowledge. This is pertinent considering the deluge of images, words, data and sounds published each day. The practice of distribution can forge what one might call a distribution network, a committed audience that engages repeatedly because they find value in what is distributed. One can publish anything, today the question is how best to strategically disseminate ideas across platforms, getting them into the minds of consumers. Distribution as practice is a political position influencing what is organized and made available about a particular discipline, place, culture or field of study.
With all this in mind, our Case Studies exhibition this month spotlights Laurel Doody Library Supply, a distribution project that strives to help artists and curators place their publications in long-term safekeeping and in the hands of more readers.
James Voorhies, Chair, CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice