Welcome to VIR – Jamie Knight

Written by institute on November 4th, 2014

PATT-AIDS Reading List

A very special welcome to VIR Jamie Knight who will be digging into the ICI’s extensive ‘AIDS archive’ of documents and ephemera created during our 20+ years of AIDS activism. I will be very curious to see how he uses this material to unpack, as he terms it, our… cultural amnesia created by decades of “wounded attachments.”

It’s been over 2 decades since I was invited to give my ‘response’ to the AIDS pandemic and its impact on the field of art history. The black hole at the center of my ‘assessment’ (pictured above) represents a deep and painful feeling of loss that has not abated over the years. In fact, the feelings it elicits seem even more stinging today. When I look at this image-text, after many years of deep storage, the large and imposing ‘black sun’ in its center is unable to hold any weight against the small dedication in the lower right corner. Those two words were added, no doubt, as a personal postscript; their small size reminds us of the etiquette surrounding public displays of private grief. Today, we know that with AIDS, all grief is public and political. By 1995, that visual whisper would become the opening salvo to the clarion call of all our AIDS activism.

for Rory … we’ll keep repeating your name

Our AIDS activism was born out of a raw, numbing grief, was weaned on disillusionment, and eventually became codified into a few long-term projects that were, and are still, fueled by a kind of melancholic compulsion-to-repeat.

Wounded attachments?

I look forward to finding out.

for Rory


Earth Cabinet Final Update

Written by Intern on October 14th, 2014

This is my final blog post as an Earth Cabinet Intern at the Institute.

Most of the known samples of earth that exist here have been put into our database. We have also started a collection of earth sample slabs. It is nice to see the earth organized.
















I will never look at earth the same way again. Even on my recent trips around the country, I began to pay attention to the earth and how it is different from the earth I am used to in Los Angeles.

I hope that the database and the left-over raw material will be helpful for research or art in the future. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the Earth Cabinet, and how large it will grow to be.

I feel very lucky to have been able to be a part of such a unique collection and space. If you have the chance, do visit! It’s unlike any other place I’ve been to.

Goodbye for now!



Library Update

Written by Intern on August 22nd, 2014


Some of my fondest memories from my childhood have been in libraries. Libraries are quite magical places, simultaneously silent and yet have so much to say. It is a place for introspection and exploration.

My time spent in the ICI library reminds me of the times I spent in libraries as a child. Although there is not enough time to thoroughly read each book, it is always a pleasure to encounter each book like meeting a new person. Books are such special multi-dimensional objects in that way and always seem to have sentimental value.

It is has been pleasurable to organize the many books kept in the ICI library and explore the collections. This library definitely has a character of its own and expresses the multi-dimensionality of books themselves. From the bookmaking shelf to the visuality shelf, this library is odd, and personalized but also deep.

There is a simple joy in being with a book.



Earth Cabinet Update

Written by Intern on August 8th, 2014

Earth comes in all different shapes, colors, sizes, and textures —













Earth is a place: the planet on which I live, but it is also the word for “the substance of the land surface,” or “soil.”

As you can probably imagine, there is a whole lot of earth on Earth, but, if you haven’t already noticed, none of it is really quite the same. Even within a single sample of earth, taken from one specific location on Earth, the quality of the earth particles differs tremendously.

Before working with the Earth Cabinet, I always thought of earth as being a shade of medium brown or kelly green as it is often depicted in cartoon versions of the world.

Suddenly I can’t help but wonder, if we made all of the buildings and plants and cars and people that stand on the surface of Earth invisible and then looked from above our planet, would we see a patchwork quilt of different colors of varying luminosity?

I’ll leave you with that and get back to scanning for now.




A Different Kind of Institute in a Box

Written by institute on July 25th, 2014

A cabinet dedicated to Institute objects and ephemera found in the home of two ICI Associates.ICIdp-cabinet_with_Sebald-w ICIdp-AIDSbottle_more-wICIdp-conk_art-wICIdp-institute_cab_detail-wICIdp-bataille_soapscum_edit-w