It employs a taxonomy that doesn’t quite follow

Ninth Avenue (The Presentation Of That Thing We Call "History") ©MAIERMOUL
Ninth Avenue (The Presentation Of That Thing We Call “History”) ©MAIERMOUL

In its shelving and re-shelving, the “Martha Rosler Library” reorganizes the history of the world and makes us sensitive to the way the presentation of that thing we call “history” matters.

Libraries, after all, (and this library reminds us of it), not only store but also participate in the production of history. They beg the question of the ideologies they promote and the roles they fulfill in the process of truth-production.

While the library isn’t Borges’ Chinese encyclopaedia, it employs a taxonomy that doesn’t quite follow the Dewey decimal system either. And just as Foucault claimed of Borges’ fictive encyclopaedia’s incomprehensibly wild taxonomy that it allowed one to apprehend “the exotic charm of another system of thought” as well as “the limitation of our own”, so does Rosler’s personal system of order and classification beg us to attend to the rules that govern our own positions.

– Elena Filipovic, If You Read Here… Martha Rosler’s Library, Afterall, issue 15, Spring 2007