A new book display coming to Hayden Library in January 2019 will explore the unique and bizarre objects that people collect – everything from Mickey Mouse memorabilia to Star Wars action figures.
The latest from The Future of Print initiative, “Collecting Collections” will be on display through February with the goal of highlighting the interests and hobbies that fuel the act of collecting and examining the collecting practices of museums and libraries.
Visitors of the bookstore-style display are invited to discover and develop their own critical perspectives on practices of collecting, as they gain a deeper understanding of library collections.
“Collecting Collections” is part of a series of experimental projects exploring new ways to encourage engagement with ASU Library print collections.
The Future of the Arizona State University Library Print Collection: A Collaborative and Data-Driven Approach to Stack Design and Curation project is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information, visit https://lib.asu.edu/futureprint.
An extremely rare, first-edition copy of a 17th-century literary work by one of the world’s most fascinating female writers has found a home at Arizona State University.
The writer is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (circa 1651-1695), the premiere poet of the Americas, a celebrity in her day and now considered an early feminist, who joined a convent in order to devote her life to the study of science, philosophy, writing and art.
The book, or booklet, is "Neptuno alegórico," an essay commissioned by the archbishop of New Spain, or Mexico, in 1680, documenting the arrival of the new Spanish viceroy.
In the essay, Sor Juana describes an arch that was used for the viceroy's procession into Mexico City and the classical artwork that decorated it. The booklet was printed unbound and in limited number to be given as gifts.
Just two known original copies exist.
“This is a rare ephemeral document that is now the anchor of our colonial Latin American collection at ASU Library,” said Seonaid Valiant, curator for Latin American studies at the ASU Library. “The piece is well-known, often included in collections of Sor Juana’s writing, and lets us study a unique style of printing.”
Sor Juana’s essay depicts the new viceroy as Neptune, emerging from the sea, a display of the breadth of her classical knowledge, says Valiant.
“She was self-educated and knew all the great classical scholars. Because we have the first edition, we get to see the essay before her corrections were incorporated in the third edition,” said Valiant. “It’s a fascinating document.”
An American individual
Nothing about Sor Juana’s life is ordinary.
She built one of the largest personal libraries in the Americas, learned how to read by the age of 3, and declined many a marriage proposal, ultimately becoming a nun in an effort to continue her self-directed scholarship.
Born in New Spain, she joined the Order of Saint Jerome, or Hieronymites, in order to further cultivate her intellectual life, which at the time was not reserved for women.
“She entered a convent in order to be a scholar, slowly showing that her writing could be a benefit to God,” said Valiant. “She cared deeply about the quality and purpose of her life, and vocalizing this made her an American individual. Sor Juana uses the word ‘I’: She tells us, ‘I have ambition. I have needs.’ She is one of the first Americans to say this.”
By the time Sor Juana wrote "Neptuno alegórico," her literary accomplishments were becoming better known throughout Spain and New Spain.
“It was this booklet that launched her secular career,” said Volek, the author of several critical writings about Sor Juana’s work. “It will stimulate research already done on her at ASU and will further strengthen the national standing of ASU as a powerhouse and a well of knowledge.”
Valiant, who facilitated the acquisition, is working to grow the Latin American collection at ASU Library, which was established in the 1970s to support faculty and graduate students doing work in this period.
“These earlier books are harder to find, but it is important to have them at hand in order to study the content as well as the history of the book,” she said.
The work of visual and sound recording artist Tony Obr and the poetry of Tanner Menard will be featured in a First Friday event, to take place from 6-9 p.m., Sept. 1, at the Downtown Phoenix campus Library.
Obr is a friendly face at the Downtown Library, where he has worked since graduating from ASU’s Herberger School with a bachelor’s in fine arts and digital art, which is on exhibit through the end of the Fall 2017 semester in the library’s Vault Gallery.
“A continual investigation lies at the heart of my creative practice,” Obr explains. “An exploration that leads to refinement, the precision distilled from this process that then leads to more exploration. Continual inquiry, questions that lead to more questions, all this drives a creative evolution.
“The process of discovery is more important than the discovery itself, and a truth is revealed through this process. The images in this collection reveal truth through patterns. Patterns observed in both the natural and constructed domains. Patterns of form, but also dynamically evolving patterns of movement and growth. Cloud formations, flocking behavior, rivulet movement, shell growth, as well as imagined cityscapes, urban design and impossible architecture.
“The images here are all algorithmically generated digital patterns that surround us. The work here suggests a study of the dynamic continuum between symmetry and asymmetry that is influenced by an underlying logic. Even within the complex and the asymmetrical there exists patterns beyond the scope of what we can immediately perceive.”
Obr is a musician, sound designer, composer and educator as well as an artist. He often works at the confluence of art, technology and performance, focusing on innovative uses of sound in musical and non-musical contexts.
Obr’s work frequently centers on the development of interactive systems for electronic music performance, dance performance and art installation. He plays live electronics and woodwinds in the performance art, experimental noise and free-improve ensemble Datura. He also plays with saxophonist Keith Kelly in their duo Slender Loris. Since 2013 he has worked as chief sound designer, and has developed interactive sound systems for Grisha Coleman’s echo::system.
As an educator, Obr has taught electronic music and sound design courses at Paradise Community College since 2014. As a composer, he works under the moniker of tsone. His compositions can be characterized as ranging from warm, gauzy, electronic detritus to blasts of impenetrable walls of sound.
Obr’s work has been released on a number of international recording labels, including: Home Normal, txt recordings, Tessellate Recordings, Stereoscenic, Tsuku-Boshi, Audiotalaia, Dark Era Tapes, and Pocket Fields.
Menard, whom Obr met when he was a composer in residence at ASU, is a poet and composer whose current work embodies his mestizo Indigenous and French lineage. Poems are his method of survival, a linguistic medicine of ambiguity which is certain that love prevails. His poetry is the DNA of his queer hybridity, a double helix of gender and identity.
As a composer of experimental music, Menard has been published and anthologized in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan on labels and netlabels such as Full Spectrum Records, Rural Colours, Tokyo Droning, Install, Slow Flow Rec, H.L.M., Archaic Horizon, Kafua Records and Milieu Music. Menard's poetry has been published in The Squawkback and Rabbit and Rose online journals. He currently serves the Snake Band Tribal Councilman for the Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas.
All of Obr’s work on exhibit is for sale as limited edition series of 20 archival pigment prints. For inquiries, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit tonyobr.net
Many of the images are stills taken from animations. Scanning the QR codes next to the prints in the gallery will take you to a video of an animation associated with it.
The event will be Friday, Sept. 1, from 6-9 pm in the lower level of the University Center building, 411 N. Central Ave, on the Downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.
Dr. Debbie Reese will discuss her work as a librarian and Indigenous children’s literature expert at a morning reception, Oct. 20, in the Labriola Center, on the second floor of Hayden Library.
The featured speaker for the fall 2016 Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community, Dr. Reese will deliver her lecture, titled “Some Truths, but Lots of Lies: Indigenous Peoples in Children’s Literature,” later that day, at 7 p.m., at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.
Dr. Reese (Nambé Pueblo) is an activist scholar and critic, and publishes the internationally acclaimed blog American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL). Her work provides critical perspectives and analysis of Indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books, school curricula, popular culture and society.