c3: project incubator
c3:initiative selected Working Library (a project by Rory Sparks and Laura O'Quin) as the 2017-2018 project incubator. Working Library was selected from a rigorous pool of applicants to independently occupy the c3 incubator space on the corner of North Chicago Ave and Lombard St.. The project was home to a community amassed library, studio-run printing press, and bindery.
Working Library was established in 2016 in Portland, Oregon. In its first iteration, it was a keeper of books and collections, and a platform for exchange. The library was built around an in-house press and bindery which gave us a way to offer classes, produce publications, and provide resources to our resident artists.
Working Library was activated by conversations with the surrounding communities and visiting artists. The books the library housed and the activities we ran were self-referential–always examining what a library might be. Because of that, Working Library became a discursive space where its very definition was fluid, ever-becoming in response to those who accessed it. The objects it housed became catalysts for conversation and meaning-making. The labor that went into it became acts of community building, and a sense of repeated use reflected the identity of these folks as active co-creators of our space.
Libraries are vital community spaces that often mirror the neighborhood around them. Working Library was similar. The difference with Working Library was that the books ended up functioning like props; a backdrop which referenced the architecture of a library–not only a symbol or metaphor for the public realm, but an actualized space accessible to the public body. This open access gave the space the feel of a commons, and conversations became its content.
CHECKING OUT THE LIBRARY
Working Library asks questions:
What is the role of the library in an evolving contemporary art scene?
How does publishing manifest as an art practice?
How can a library and its books function as a generous space and collection that hosts and feeds inclusive dialogue and generates and supports collective action?
How can one engage and reposition a library’s systems and networks?
What lives in a library other than books?
How can research, ephemera, and experience manifest as material?
The Working Library’s St. Johns, Portland branch closed its doors in October, 2018, and its ownership was transferred to c3:initiative in April, 2018. The project is no longer ours–we have gifted the idea to our funding organization. Generosity was a guiding principle in this project.
Anyone can ‘check out’ Working Library to reactivate it in a new form. It can see many iterations now, and will be re-envisioned by a multiplicity of voices. We included a set of documents for its new owner and activators, explaining the ideology and outlining the stipulations set forth by its founders, Rory Sparks & Laura O’Quin.
To check out Working Library, please contact c3:initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org
The c3:Working Library Residency supports creative projects dealing in themes of publication, archive, and collection through the lens of artists of color.
2017 c3:WL Residents:
d.a. carter and Sharita Towne
Rhiannon Skye Tafoya
8836 N Lombard St.
Portland, OR 97203
Wednesday - Friday 12-6p and by appointment
*We try our best to keep regular hours. Things come up. If you are thinking about venturing out to visit us it is always a good idea to let us know you are coming.
By Public Transit:
Bus 4, 11, 16, 44, or 75 to St. Johns
From Downtown Portland:
Take US Hwy 30 W toward St. Helens | Cross the St. Johns Bridge | Continue onto N. Philadelphia Ave. | Turn left on N. Lombard St. | We are on the corner of N Lombard and Chicago Ave.
To avoid rush hour traffic:
Consider taking Interstate north | Take left exit for N. Greeley | Turn left on Rosa Parks, which turns into N. Willamette Blvd | Turn right on N. Richmond Ave. | Left on N. Ivanhoe St. | We are on the corner of N Lombard and Chicago Ave.
From North or Northeast Portland:
Take N Lombard west to St. Johns | We are on the corner of N Lombard and Chicago Ave.