The Performance and Practice of Research in A Cabinet of Curiosity: The Library's Dead Time

Bonnie Mak, Julia Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A Cabinet of Curiosity: The Library’s Dead Time, an exhibition held at the Figure One Gallery in Champaign, Illinois, investigated how the materiality of information shapes the making of meaning. By showcasing the materiality of the codex, PDF, online catalog, and librarian, the exhibition fabricated an archive of the “dead time” of research in the humanities, and thus made visible for analysis some of the oft-overlooked practices around the production of knowledge. The following discussion explores the ways in which information is constituted, configured, and communicated, and suggests how the influential role of materiality in the transmission of ideas might be further exploited by both the librarian and the humanities scholar.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-221
JournalArt Documentation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • librarians
  • card catalogs
  • dead time
  • art exhibitions
  • cabinets of curiosities
  • academic libraries
  • museum exhibits
  • technology

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