A Library for the Multitude
Prof: Ed Keller TA: Gregory Thorpe

"One day the man demands of the beast: "Why do you not talk to me about your happiness
and only gaze at me?" The beast wants to answer, too, and say: "That comes about because
I always immediately forget what I wanted to say." But by then the beast has already
forgotten this reply and remains silent, so that the man wonders on once more.

But he also wonders about himself, that he is not able to learn to forget and that he always
hangs onto past things. No matter how far or how fast he runs, this chain runs with him. It is
something amazing: the moment, in one sudden motion there, in one sudden motion gone,
before nothing, afterwards nothing, nevertheless comes back again as a ghost and disturbs
the tranquility of each later moment. A leaf is continuously released from the roll of time, falls
out, flutters away--and suddenly flutters back again into the man's lap. For the man says, "I
remember," and envies the beast, which immediately forgets and sees each moment really
perish, sink back in cloud and night, and vanish forever." Nietzsche, On the Use and Abuse
of History

The Library, the Archive, is the technical solution we humans have deployed to solve this
challenge of amnesia; a technique which intends to keep the supposed beast inside each of
us at bay. Yet given our contemporary global, political and technological situation, it is
impossible to consider the 'Library' as an institution without acknowledging that an absolute
redefinition of power is taking place.

If information in many ways equals power, and if awareness and intelligence are ever more
modulated by the emerging infrastructure free and wireless Net, then the Library must
radically reconfigure itself as a new institution if it hopes to survive. In fact, there is little hope
for the Library as a conventional bastion of power and law. By the time today's policy makers
realize the extent of the technological revolution, distributed networks and information
reservoirs will have self-deployed to such an extent that the traditional form of the library will
be extinct. As well, the spatial relationships that have defined the transfer of knowledge in the
city, in the library as an institution, will also have suffered a sea change.

As we watch new kinds of collectivity emerge with this faster and more turbulent global
urbanism, comprised of the early members of Toni Negri's 'multitude', the Library is also

The oft discussed concept of the 'archive' in our postmodern and globalized world has to
incorporate the fact of a newly mobilized global constituency, whose participation in
determining the new network comes as much through the recent cacerolozo protests in
Argentina, worldwide demonstrations against war in 2003 or assemblies at Porto Alegre, as
the mainstream channels of facebook and ebay.

There are unforeseen avenues for information to migrate from one space to another- today's
lightweight teenage hackers, occasionally capable of freezing the net for a few days, will be
genetic engineers in a few years, with under the table freeware apps allowing the
hybridization of new viruses as easily as improvising a guitar solo. This disruption of official
power will be rapid and incomprehensible by today's standards and ideas of control, yielding
radical new freedoms; but on the flip side, the potential for disaster will be equally serious.
P2P music and video trading is a minor hurdle as we progress to new distributed forms of the

One of the most profound design problems we face as we enter this next century will be the
reconciliation of dangerous time, non human time- with the kinds of time we have been
accustomed to live in for the past two millenia. Indeed, the time of the genetic, the time of the
cosmological, the time of the atomic- these scales of time are all increasingly accessible to
the everday.

The conflicts that this clash will precipitate- not just of fundamentalisms but of temporal
modalities- are part of our design mandate for a new library. How can we reconcile the
hacker ethic that information wants to and should be free, with the increasing danger of
information? Where should the ARKHE assert her role as design authority, as arbiter or

The Library as an institution has traditionally been a center of the preservation of culture, and
has at the same time been the place where checks and balances are imposed on access to
information. Ever more these filters are eroding. By some accounts there are over 150
million migrant laborers worldwide, travelling across borders constantly to work and to pursue
new freedoms. Today, I can [and do] carry literally hundreds of books and songs on my
celphone. Many of the millions of global migrants have access to similar technology, and in
ten years will use networked computational devices orders of magnitude more powerful than
today's cutting edge laptop, at one tenth the price.

Today's surveillance culture insists that global safety depends on an all seeing eye, a total
pervasion of information visibility. Much theorized by thinkers like Virilio, we will engage this
idea of an extended visibility and the erasure of space, in the consideration of how we can
design a library that might function adequately as a filter, bulwark or conversely accelerator
in this coming new age of control.

'…man is only a roundabout, subsidiary response to the problem of growth. Doubtless,
through labor and technique, he has made possible an extension of growth beyond the given
limits. But just as the herbivore relative to the plant, and the carnivore relative to the
herbivore, is a luxury, man is the most suited of all living beings to consume intensely,
sumptuously, the excess energy offered up by the pressure of life to conflagrations befitting
the solar origins of its movement.'
Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share

The studio's program will be to design a contemporary archive. Choice of exact site and
specifics of program are up to the individual student, but it is expected that most will choose a
physical site that has to negotiate with the technological and cultural forces I have outlined
above. The project could be a library on a real site; or a boneyard for military storage such as
the Mojave or El Mirage Dry Lake sites; or a museum in a major city; or an ecologically
oriented archive, like the seed bank being built in Norway; or from a more apocalyptic point of
view, the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, preserving the skeletal traces of life across the

We will investigate a full range of archive types. Traditionally ordered and catalogued text
and A/V can be compared to raw information [ with acknowledgements to Neal Stephenson's
ideas in Snow Crash], or genetic databases. Various precedent typologies could include the

Similarly, extending Borges' idea of the universe itself as a library- or Manual Delanda's work
studying the intrisic computational process in matter itself- we will consider raw material:
water, iron, gold, uranium, salt, as the substance of the library. Also raw energy itself, or the
human forms of it as geo- and bio-power: wealth, intellectual and financial capital, and
military resources are all elements in the Library of the Multitude. Our project this semester
will be to decide what we truly believe is worth remembering, and in contrast, what might be
truly necessary to forget.

There are a series of THEMES or AXIOMS that we will confront in our design of the Library:

'[in 1967 Foucault identified] specific kinds of lived space... cemeteries, formal gardens,
theaters, libraries, and museums [are] "heterotopias" to reflect the "space in which we live,"
as opposed to the utopian spaces that we can only imagine.
He singles out libraries and museums under his fourth principle, which links heterotopias to
slices in time. Since the end of the seventeenth century, these places have served as general
archives to accumulate everything--to enclose in one place, which is itself inaccessible to the
ravages of time, "all times, all epochs, all forms, all tastes . . ." '
Jeffrey R. Galin and Joan Latchaw

This transformative vision of the archive is one that we will juxtapose against a series of other
positions, some more and some less optimistic.

o Borges' Library of Babel: the Library as a fantastic archive of everything; the universe itself
as a Library; the Library as a philosophical catalyst

o the City itself understood as Library and Archive

o the GeoPolitic, the Global, and the new Library
China, the third world, software theft, and P2P networks: the reconfiguration of economic
borders and methods of

o the GeoBiological Archive
BioMetrics and new forms of information storage, processing and filtering

o POWER: the juridical process in the Library
"Arkhe, we recall, names the commencement and the commandment. This name apparently
coordinates two principles in one: the principle according to nature or history, there where
things commence-physical, historical, or ontological principle-but also the principle according
to the law, there where men and gods command, there where authority, social order are
exercised, in this place from which order is given....the meaning of 'archive,' its only meaning,
comes to it from the Greek arkheion: initially a house, a domicile, an address, the residence
of the superior magistrates, the archons, those who commanded." The archons possess the
right to make or to represent the law as well as interpret the archive. This is the reason why
the archons are the guardians of the documents ensuring their physical security as well as
juridical value. "Entrusted to such archons, these documents in effect speak the law: they
recall the law and call on or impose the law. To be guarded thus, in the jurisdiction of this
speaking the law, they needed at once a guardian and a localization."
Derrida, Archive Fever

"...de Certeau gives an example of the National Archives in Paris, which, according to him, in
effect implies the combination of a group (the "erudite"), a place (a "library"), and a system of
practices (of copying, printing, classification, etc.) that were a consequence of a technical
system inaugurated in the West with the private collections assembled by great patrons, who
wanted to appropriate history for themselves, in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and England."
Michal Kobialka, Can There be a Postmodern Archive?

o Cultural memory, cultural Amnesia
The Net and the NEW COLLECTIVITY; REED's LAW as applied to the traditionally
slowmoving model of the archive


'Latent structure is the master of obvious structure.' Heraclitus, Fragment 54

Our initial exercise will run a very limited program through existing archives that we study, drawn from film and
real world sources. We will then plug this into sites in the world to test the resilience of the program where the
'rubber meets the road'.

STEP [degree] ZERO: What is worth remembering?
We will begin the project with a one week exercise that forces a confrontation with what we would most need to
remember- what we would take into eternity with us. This exercise will be accompanied by a screening of
AfterLife by the filmmaker Koreeda, and will be based in part on that film and in part on a set of video processes
designed by the media theorist Paul Ryan.

STEP ONE: CARTOGRAPHY and AGENT / NODE simulation. Film and system analysis: 4 Weeks
Pick several films. Identify 3-4 key agents in the film you are studying. Study and model the core attributes of
these agents. Build an abstract model of the basic 'cell' structure, event and program unit. Prepare to use this
model to develop a local and a global
parti for the project.

[An optional exercise could engage the city itself. Using the MAP and SCORE of the narrative event, reenact the
event on a site/situation in Los Angeles, at one to one scale in real time. Use your SCORE/MAP as an
instruction set to engage the city. Record this reenactment, using cameras, drawings, and text, creating a set of
field documents. Precedents here include Sophie Calle's work, Tschumi's Manhattan Transcripts, and the
Situationist Derive strategy.]

Reverse engineer the intial work studying memory, agent systems, maps and diagrams, and design a sub
component of your archive project: the structure, the interface, the network, the cells, etc.

Project design will result from the integration of the CARTOGRAPHY and COMPONENT DESIGN stages. The
software components, diagrams, maps, and subset parts of the Library will be ordered and produce material for
the construction of each project.

The studio will be accompanied by a seminar [Active Time in Landscape, Architecture, and Cinema ] throughout
the semester, which will cover a wide range of readings and cinema in relation to landscapes of time and
politics. This seminar will be offered as an open lecture that will orient students within the studio to key
concepts during the semester, and provide diversion for all and sundry.

The usual range of 3D, 2D and interactive software: Maya, 3DSMax, Photoshop, Final Cut, Flash,
Dreamweaver, etc. Various scripting programs will be encouraged to model the agent behavior in precedent

The studio will be coordinated using the following network tools:
o Online WIKI
o MailListserve
o Chat space
o UPOC group

The studio will make several visits to archives in the Los Angeles area: destinations TBA.

Fire and Memory, Fernandez Galiano
The Invention of Morel, Bioy Casares
Snow Crash, Diamond Age: Neal Stephenson
Manhattan Transcripts: Bernard Tschumi
Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault [ch. on archive]
Of Other Spaces: Heterotopias, Foucault
Foucault's Art of Seeing, Rajchman
Scientific Autobiography, Architecture of the City, Rossi
The Road Movie Book, Cohan & Hark
The Accursed Share, Bataille
A Thousand Years of Non Linear History, DeLanda
Walking in the City, Careri
Library of Babel, Borges
The Postmodern Archive: Kobialka - http://www.ed.ac.uk/iash/proceedings/kobialka/Kobialka.paper.html
Samuel Weber: The Question of Digital Democracy- http://waste.informatik.hu-berlin.de/mtg/archiv/weber.htm
On the Use and Abuse of History, Nietzsche
Means without End, Agamben

Afterlife : Koreeda
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind : Gondry
Rashomon : Kurosawa
Underground : Kusturica
Russian Ark : Sokurov
Ghost in the Shell 1&2 : Oshii
Memento : Nolan
All About Eve : Manckiewicz
All About My Mother : Almodovar
Amarcord, ROMA, 8 1/2 : Fellini
Mirror, Nostalghia : Tarkovsky
Blowup : Antonioni
Lisbon Story : Wenders
Sans Soleil, La Jetee : Marker
Vertigo : Hitchcock
London : Keiller
Hiroshima Mon Amour : Duras & Resnais
2046, In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express, Fallen Angels : Wong Kar Wai
Confessional, Polygraph : LePage
Solaris : Tarkovsky, Soderbergh
Catch-22 : Nichols / Heller
Once Upon a Time in the West, Once Upon a Time in America : Leone
Beau Travail : Denis
Slaughterhouse Five : Roy Hill
Irreversible : Noe [with a reading of Time's Arrow, Amis]
Amateur : Hartley
English Patient : Ondaatje/Minghella/Murch
Last Year at Marienbad : Resnais/Robbe Grillet
Old Boy : Chan Wook Park
Minority Report : Spielberg / PK Dick
Time Regained : Ruiz / Proust
2001 : Kubrick
Playtime : Tati
Man With a Movie Camera : Vertov

CINEMA: the ROAD and the CITY
Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, Wild at Heart : Lynch
Wizard of Oz : Fleming
Grapes of Wrath : Ford
Paris Texas, Until the End of the World, Alice in the Cities : Wenders
Easy Rider : Hopper
Natural Born Killers, UTurn : Stone
Taste of Cherry : Kiarostami
Repo Man : Cox
Caro Diario : Moretti
Mystery Train, Down by Law, Stranger Than Paradise : Jarmusch
My Own Private Idaho : Van Sant
North by NorthWest : Hitchcock
Passenger : Antonioni
Heat : Mann
Thelma and Louise : Scott
Weekend : Godard
Mama Roma : Pasolini
Crash : Cronenberg / JG Ballard
Element of Crime : Von Trier / Borges

o Seattle Library, OMA http://www.spl.org/lfa/central/oma/OMAbook1299/page2.htm
o Jussieu Library proposal, OMA
o Library of Paris proposal, TSCHUMI
o Sendai MediaTheque, Ito
o Alexandria Library, Snohetta
o Kansai Library Proposal, Reiser + Umemoto
o Situationists: Unitary urbanism, Theory of Derive, Construction of situations
o New Babylon, Constant
o Potteries Thinkbelt, Cedric Price

o Beinecke Rare Book Library, Bunshaft
o Bib. Nationale and Bib. Ste. Genevieve, Labrouste
o Exeter Library, Kahn
o History Fac. Lib., Stirling
o Laurentian Library, Michelangelo
o Morgan Lib., McKim Mead White
o Viipuri, Mount Angel, Seinajoki, Otaniemi Libraries, Aalto
o Stockholm Lib, Asplund
o Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Scharoun

Atlas of Cyberspace: http://www.cybergeography.org/atlas/atlas.html
PROJECT GUTENBERG http://www.gutenberg.net/index.shtml
PERSEUS PROJECT http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/
CULTURAL MEMORY SYSTEMS/ GOPPOLD http://www.uni-ulm.de/uni/intgruppen/memosys/
CAIDA http://www.caida.org/
CYBERNETICS WEBSITE http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/
CARTOME http://www.cartome.org/
GNUTELLA http://www.gnu.org/
FREENET http://freenet.sourceforge.net/
KYOTO ENCYL. GENES and GENOMES http://www.genome.ad.jp/kegg/