Exhibit offers piece of library history

The cabinet of curiosity, a term originating from Renaissance Europe, was traditionally a room in which early-modern collectors could experiment with different ways of ordering the universe. Recently, two members of the University community have come together to put their own artistic spin on this piece of history.

Bonnie Mak, assistant professor for the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences and master’s student Julia Pollack have created a new exhibit called, “A Cabinet of Curiosity: The Library’s Dead Time,” which will be showing at the Figure One Gallery at 116 N. Walnut in Champaign. The exhibit will be open to the public this Friday and Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Pollack and Mak have brought together their own cabinet of curiosity, filling it with examples of librarianship that are regularly overlooked in the course of daily activities in the library. Amongst these exhibits is “Masked Labour,” a meditation on the human costs of digitizing resources – a piece which involves the use of four live actors.

As an alternative archive of librarianship, Pollack and Mak’s cabinet reveals the ways in which information continues to be carefully formulated and prepared for consumption — not only in the library, but also elsewhere. Mak describes is as a commentary on the “breaking down of libraries,” – an issue present on the U of I campus where we see a growing trend in consolidation between our numerous library systems.