Archive of Future Commons: Your Suggestions!

Ng Yi-Sheng

September 5, 2016

The Kula Ring exhibition just ended yesterday! Which means that the next time you come to 72-13 for a show (probably Makng and Doing by Bill T. Jones), you won't get to see that series of Papua and international artefacts in the foyer. Not sure why: maybe Jones wants to use the whole space of the building.

I was hanging out at the space in the evening when artist Woon Tien Wei came by to get some final photos of the work he did with his wife Jennifer Teo of Post-Museum. Their Archive of Future Commons was a library of 100 books that might be used to rebuild society in the event of an extinction-level event, the complete list of books is available here.

(Irritatingly, many of them are not available for borrowing at the National Library of Singapore. Shrug.)

But there was an interactive component to the showcase as well: people were encouraged, not only to read the books (while wearing white gloves), but also to suggest prospective books. Tien noted that more people did this in Singapore than in the previous exhibition in Weimar, Germany—perhaps due to the lack of a language barrier, or the fact that we had actors "activating" the archive by reading sections of the books before every performance at 72-13.

I copied down the list of suggested books and the reasons for inclusion. Names and email addresses of the people making these suggestions have been omitted for the sake of privacy.

Title of Recommended Book: B. Malinowski Argonauts of the Western Pacific
Reasons for Including This Book: Classic ethnography by anthropologsist Malinowski on the Kula Ring

Title of Recommended Book: Future Sense
Reasons for Including This Book: Provides a psychological framework drawing on gestalt psychotherapy for the development of sustainability.

Title of Recommended Book: Imagined Communities: by Benedict Anderson
Reasons for Including This Book: The forming of Nations is a fairly new phenomenon and why is it that its citizens/people are so deeply invested in it.

Title of Recommended Book: David Graeber: Debt, the First Five Thousand Years (2011)
Reasons for Including This Book: Read this next to M. Mauss: The Gift on the ‘anthropo-economic’ significance of gift & gift exchange. (oops, that’s two recommended books)

Title of Recommended Book: Teaming With Microbes
Reasons for Including This Book: [blank]

Title of Recommended Book:  “Cave Birds” Ted Hughes + Leonard Baskin
Reasons for Including This Book: Hughes’ most complete explanation of humanities complex relationship to Nature. A response to Baskin’s initial Cave Birds drawing, later Baskin responded to Hughes’ sequence with new drawings.”

Title of Recommended Book: Is this the End of the Book?” Umberto Eco+ Jean-Claude Carvier
Reasons for Including This Book: This a recorded conversation between Eco + Carrier. The former, a great essayist & writer of Modern Classics such as ‘The Name of the Rose’, the latter, a celebrated avant-garde French Film Director Both avid collectors+bibliophiles. They talk wonderfully on the impact culture has on the archiving of books+ indeed the impact archiving has on Culture.

Title of Recommended Book: Vital Signs by Mary-Jayne Rust & Nick Totton
Reasons for Including This Book: This book talks about “Ecopsychology” that seeks the connection bet. Human beings and nature, the Earth—Non-human beings, and explore how the way we treat Non-human beings is influenced by our psyche. It’s a great way of looking into environmental issues from different, unconventional point of view that focussing on the “Emotional” side of this issue.
I personally believe it’s very important and meaningful to understand and regain the deep emotional connection the Earth that has been forgotten in our modern technological society. And it’s the KEY to really bring us back to the original roots once again.
Thank you!

Title of Recommended Book: A Little Life – Hanya Yangihara
Reasons for Including This Book: - Why not? :)

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  • 2016