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Endings and Beginnings

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Google Map of Los Angeles Libraries

For the past few weeks I have been working on the finishing touches of the redesign of the library. I’ve been working hard to place all the stamps and labels, and then placing the pockets within their respective books. This week I have finished. It is always such a nice feeling upon completion of a project. But with the end of one project, there is also a beginning to a new one.

My next endeavor at the ICI will be the Good Neighbor Project. This project aims to take donated books that our library already has copies of and resell them in the gift shop.  This project is really great! The name is based on the theory by Warburg that if one is looking for a book on the shelf, the neighboring book may be the better choice for the person. I love that! And I completely agree. I will be looking for a book, but its the books that I see along the way that really perk my interest.

My part in the project is to design a book cover that will go on the books to sell. I think my work is coming together well. I’m working with the image of a map of the Los Angeles area and abstracting it. I painted a watercolor of the map, uploaded it to my computer, overlayed roads and marks of all the libraries in the Los Angeles area, printed it, crumpled it, and reuploaded into my computer. It has come out beautifully. Now I’m in the trial phase, so I am experimenting with how it will fit on books and the layout of the book information. I am very excited for the final product!

Good Neighbor In Process



A New Way of Thinking

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012


My name is Elizabeth Sanders. I am the new Graphic Design intern here at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry. I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but came to Los Angeles to study at the University of Southern California. At USC, I attend the Roski School of Fine Arts. I am a junior seeking a Bachelor’s of Fine Art, in which I am emphasizing in Design, Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking. I’m also working on a minor in Cinematic Arts. I secretly wish to get a minor in Psychology (so interesting!), but then I definitely won’t be able to finish college in four years!

I am really loving my studies and even more, putting my skills into action through internships. This summer I have two internships. In addition to the ICI, I am working for an editorial beauty website, Beauty Bender. Beauty Bender is a lot of fun. I’m creating graphics for them  as well as learning all sorts of beauty tips. I’m fortunate to have found two great internships! And I really love that each internship is so different in projects and aesthetics. Beauty Bender is simple, chic and modern whereas the ICI adheres to a more vintage look.

At the ICI I will be working on various projects involving the library and the gift shop. In the library I am creating a card catalog system as well as a check out system. I am very excited about the library project. I have forever been in love with reading, books, and libraries– its the nerd within me. In my first few days, I have acquainted myself with the library and many of the books. The selection at the ICI is an eclectic one, but all of the books look intriguing. If only I had the time to sit and read them! The gift shop project is focused on recreating the signage, but also on some great projects like First and Last Line, Thomas Browne Project, and the Good Neighbor Project.

I am very excited to begin my time here. The ICI is a wonderful organization that promotes many ideas, such as synchronicity, Sebaldian theory, and the art of the process, that I am interested in exploring and practicing. The ICI promotes a different way of thinking and I’m so glad to be a part of it.


-Elizabeth, intern

A final note from me to you…

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

As I sit on a bench in the small ICI garden, feet from busy Robertson Blvd, I can’t help but wonder at this small oasis. Indeed it is a term that can just as easily apply to the ICI as a whole.  It has been a haven for me, a place where I was introduced to ideas and ways of seeing the world that I had not considered before.

With the Forget Foucault project, the ICI challenged me to reconsider not simply who is remembered, but why, and how? It is a challenge to a conventional way of thinking all at once so simple, and so striking, that I was struck by how it had so utterly slipped my notice. It was not the first time I would think that as I had the pleasure to sift through, and catalog, just a small sample of what the ICI Library has to offer.

As a part of my work I saw and read books filled with ideas and people that last fall I could scarcely have imagined. It gave me the chance to live on the periphery, catching glimpses of worlds, of realities, of truths that I have hardly begun to understand. To this end the ICI’s presence sends out a small beacon of light when it would be so much easier to get lost in the chaos and the darkness. So…


“…with the animals dying around us

our lost feelings we are saying thank you

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain

with the cities growing over us

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

we are saying thank you and waving dark though it is”

-Excerpt from “Thanks” by W.S. Merwin

With these words I give my thanks to the director of the ICI Lise Patt and ICI Archivist Fellow Jojo Black for sharing your time and wisdom with me these past few months.  No matter how small, and however easily lost in the chaos around us, they are given with a deep sense of gratitude.  As I move away from my days spent here amongst the books, the ephemera, but most importantly the people, I do so with the understanding that I am not leaving them behind, but carrying them with me.


A New Chapter

Friday, December 16th, 2011

‘All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts’ -William Shakespeare, As You Like It.


As the weeks have passed here at the ICI I have never known this to be truer.  While I have only had the opportunity to skim the top of what the ICI has to offer, I believe the most important thing I have learned  is that just because a question cannot be easily answered does not mean it is not a question worth asking. It is a point that returns me to my first post as an intern here.  While I may not be any closer to discovering what my truth may be, I am honored to have gotten the opportunity to have shared this experience with JoJo, Kaylie, and Sue-Na.

With sincerest wishes for a bright future for the ICI,



The unexpected road…

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

As I began writing this post I was reminded of a quote I happened to come across nearly a year ago entitled “Gestalt Prayer” it read, “I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, And you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful” (Fritz Perls, 1969).

This initial reading, in so many respects, seems to me to be a wonderful embodiment of the work being done here at the ICI.  More specifically it speaks to the way the ICI values the seemingly chance encounters and connections that more often than not have led them to pursue projects they could not otherwise have imagined.

What I had not noticed until now is that this quote while impactful is incomplete. The final six-word line is missing, “If not, it can’t be helped” (Fritz Perls, 1969). While a seemingly inconsequential omission its exclusion creates a significant shift in the way a reader may interpret the earlier statement. This discovery is a very timely one considering I have recently had the opportunity to play a small part in contributing to the ICI’s ongoing First Line/Last Line project. In this project either the last or first line is chosen from a book in the ICI library to post on both their Twitter and blog.

As many of those close to me know the very first thing I do before starting a new book is I read the last line. For me these are lines that even out of context can be beautiful, funny, and provocative even out of context. This is particularly true for the sentences chosen to be included in the First Line/Last Line project.  Almost more importantly they are never quite what you might expect. This idea of expecting the unexpected flourishes here at the ICI making me excited to see what the next stop in this road will be.