Feminist Search Tools is an ongoing artistic research project that explores different ways of engaging with the items of digital library catalogues and their systems of categorization.
The project attempts to stir conversations around the inclusion and exclusion mechanisms that are inherent to current Western knowledge economies. It critically engages with the hierarchies of knowledge that inhabit our bookshelves, reading practices and search movements in digital library environments. Different elements of the project are made accessible on a website that documents a range of prototypes, forms of tooling, and discussions aiming at critically and creatively evaluating the back-ends of library catalogues. The Feminist Search Tools website functions as a conversation piece contextualizing online research in digital library catalogues and addressing power structures that library search engines reproduce. Through the collaborations with IHLIA LGTBI Heritage Collection, Atria and OBA, the project has been able to closer look into specific archives and archival practices as well as the use of thesauri facilitating user’s search movements.
The project is part of a long-term collaboration between the two collectives Read-in and Hackers & Designers. The Feminist Search Tools work group consists of: Read-in (Svenja Engels, Annette Krauss, Laura Pardo), Hackers & Designers, (Anja Groten, André Fincato, Heerko van der Kooij, and previous member James Bryan Graves), Ola Hassanain, Aggeliki Diakrousi and Alice Strete.
The edited conversation “Doing and Undoing Relationships” between Svenja Engels, André Fincato, Anja Groten, Ola Hassanain, Annette Krauss, and Laura Pardo has resulted from a meeting, held on 09.03.2020 in Read-in studio, Utrecht. Transcription of recording: Angelina Kumar. Editing of conversation: Katherine MacBride. Thank you to Read-in member Ying Que for her careful reading.
Partners and support
Thank you to the institutions, initiatives and archives that supported the project and contributed to it in different ways: Atria | Kennisinstituut voor Emancipatie en Vrouwengeschiedenis, Vrouwenthesaurus (Maria van der Sommen & Gusta Drenthe), IHLIA LGBTI Heritage Collection, Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA), Utrecht University Library, The Black Archives (Jessica de Abreu), KUNCI library, Aphra’s Bookclub (Sayonara Stutgard), Casco’s Grand Domestic Revolution Library, Mapping Slavery, Digital Methods Summer School (Hackers & Designers, Read-in, Frauke Rohden, Lonneke VanderVelden, Emile den Tex, Density Design Milan), Unbound Libraries a work session hosted by Constant Association for Art & Media,White Privilege Workshop with contributions by Theater Generator (Wigbertson Julian Isenia, Ioana Tudor & Matthea Westerduin); moderation: Ying Que (Read-in), consultation by Lieke Hettinga on the intersections of disability and trans studies, Panel “Marginalized voices in queer and trans archives” curated by Wigbertson Julian Isenia(co-founder of Black Queer& Trans Resistance) and with contributions by Eliza Steinbock, Naomie Pieter, Nina Littel, Wigbertson Julian Isenia.