Artist: Ruth Beale

Curated by Fiona Parry

Wednesday 9 March 2011 to Saturday 19 March 2011

Cubitt Gallery presents a series of three events by London artist Ruth Beale exploring relationships between the social purpose and cultural significance of the library and archive, as public spaces for the collection, preservation and distribution of knowledge.

Lindgren & Langlois: The Archive Paradox

A Performance, Wednesday 9 March, 7 pm

Lindgren & Langlois: The Archive Paradox is a dramatised exchange of letters between two influential film archivists on opposing sides of a debate between preservation and circulation. Ernest Lindgren, the BFI National Film Archive’s first curator was careful, scientific and restrained by public responsibilities and budgets. He collected film selectively, maintaining a strict policy of non-projection of original prints and pioneering preservation and cataloguing techniques that became the standard internationally. Conversely the cinephile Henri Langlois, co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française collected, saved, and screened as widely as possible, all the films he could. Credited with influencing the French New Wave directors, he was known for his all consuming passion for cinema, as well as his individualistic and chaotic style.

Based on their often-conflictual real life correspondence, this fictional dialogue re-visits the personal and ideological tensions between Lindgren and Langlois in an attempted reconciliation from beyond the grave, and debate on what is more important, to preserve for the future or disseminate in the present.

Film Salon: Libraries

Wednesday 16 March, 7 pm

This informal evening of film clips and YouTube excerpts, hosted by Beale, takes a journey into the cultural life of the library: as foreboding container of knowledge and resource to mine, as valued public and community space, and as the transformative and unlikely setting for drama in popular cinema. The evening ends with a screening of Alain Resnais’ Toute la Mémoire du Monde (All the Memory of the World), 1956, a portrait of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, exploring the enormity of knowledge ‘imprisoned’ within it.

Public Knowledge: Panel Discussion

Saturday 19 March, 2.30 pm

Speakers: Anne Gallacher (Chair), independent arts consultant, specialist in arts education and community engagement, former Director of Education at Birmingham Royal Ballet; Professor Richard Gameson, Department of History, Durham University, specialist on the history of the book from antiquity to the Renaissance; Chris Meade, co-Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book and co-founder of The Unlibrary (a library for the digital age) at Hornsey Library; Maggie Roche, Senior Librarian, Children and Young People, former Chair Youth Libraries Group, London.

This discussion will look at the importance of libraries and archives, their historical origins and potential future development. How has the form of written information and public access to it developed historically? What is it we value about libraries as public spaces and are we attached to them in their current form? What can the digital library offer and what might the library of the future look like? Who manages and has access to the repositories of knowledge and information in our society?

Free admission to all events

No booking required

The focus of Ruth Beale’s work is often the relationship of culture to society, in particular the cultural representation, expression, and fetishisation of political ideas. She is also interested in how the preservation and dissemination of ideas and objects impacts on what is valued and overlooked. Taking an inquisitive stance, these interests are addressed collaboratively in themed discussions called Miss B’s Salons, and performances such Art for Virtue’s Sake (ICA, London 2010), a lecture on the historical relationship between education and ‘culture as a social project’ and the Aesthetics of Power (FormContent, London 2010), on the fetishisation of Fascist architecture. Her practice also includes drawing, video work and the collection and the re-presentation of archive material. Recent exhibitions include: The Voyage of Nonsuch, with Karen Mirza, Whitstable Bienniale (2010); and WHAT I BELIEVE (A Polemical Collection), SPACE, London (2009).

Public Knowledge by Ruth Beale is the first project in Fiona Parry’s 18-month curatorial bursary at Cubitt. The panel discussion has been developed collaboratively with Daniel Baker (Education Coordinator) and Judith Carlton (Gallery Manager).

Image credit: Front cover of Scottish Libraries May/Jun 1987 (No. 3). Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

Supported by Arts Council England and Outset Contemporary Art Fund.

Booking for this event has now closed.