Jamie Mears (Library of Congress) has posted an interview with Oliver Baez Bendorf on LOC blog, The Signal. The post, entitled “Assembling the Whole: An Interview with Librarian|Artist Oliver Baez Bendorf,” focuses on the poster series Bendorf created for the Library of Congress, inspired by LOC’s Collections as Data summit this past fall.
I was really struck by that question [originally posed by Ricky Punzalan] “what does it mean to assemble the whole?” and knew that I wanted to do something with that. I was also thinking a lot about patterns: how to convey something that’s machine readable…data points. But when you zoom in, might be something a human is really drawn to, actually luscious and vivid, each data point expanded into a whole story. So I think of these different scraps of paper and watercolors as data points that are all connected but have the capacity to be these luscious stories on their own, and that assembling them together is part of the work and mission of people at the symposium. The lives inside these collections and how to approach them,both as individual stories that people can play with and learn about and also what they mean when taken together and how to give access to those stories and angles.
Bendorf reflects on his artistic process and why he focuses on physical materiality to represent a digitally focused conference, channeling one of his professors, Lynda Barry, who often remarks that “the human hand is the original digital device.”