Card Catalog/Data Formats

With Danny Snelson
In Conjunction with Excursus IV
Curated by Alex Klein & Primary Information/James Hoff and Miriam Katzeff
Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
June 2, 2013

In this presentation, Danny Snelson and Mashinka Firunts examine the role of data formats and card catalogs under the sign of the archival database. This mediagenic performance navigates Primary Information and ICA collections to ask: how might one stage the database and what changes does a user introduce to her archive?

would it appear like something else i’d read on jstor, a go-to place for knowledge, john mchale better than bucky fuller i think, foregrounding format versus medium, reading the archive through selection, speak to a pdf in an intuitive way, i didn’t speak to my pdf at all, how important is it that this format is open, it was terribly drmed, a 747 page iso, pdftk, the automatic recording of every single Facebook post, why do i need an archive, take pictures and keep a file somewhere, is this going to be archived.

About Excursus IV:
“From artists’ books, magazines, and museum catalogues to opening announcements, advertisements, and event scores, printed matter has long been a dynamic element of art discourse and practice. But these materials, ephemeral by nature, have not always been preserved. Today, with our unprecedented access to information—virtual, downloadable, on-demand—there is a renewed interest in print’s material dimensions and the ways publication can be both a historical resource and a platform for art-making.

Primary Information was formed in New York in 2006 by James Hoff and Miriam Katzeff to foster intergenerational dialogue through the publication and distribution of artists’ books and writings by artists. In addition to new projects by contemporary artists, Primary Information republishes rare or forgotten works with the goal of bringing them back into circulation. Leading up to ICA’s 50th anniversary in fall 2013, Primary Information has been invited to delve into our archive and to reflect on its contemporary potential. Through an engagement with ICA’s own critical history of publishing, Primary Information’s Excursus will unfold over the coming weeks with a series of events in the installation and interventions on the Excursus website, including providing access to a selection of out-of-print ICA exhibition catalogues. Taking a cue from ICA’s seminal exhibition, Video Art (1975), the installation features archival material as well as a viewing area where videos from the original show will play on rotation. Sarah Crowner’s Curtains (Vidas Perfectas) (2011) provides a literal backdrop for the dialogic activities that will take place in the space and that will reflect back on the distribution networks espoused by Primary Information’s past and present projects.”