Reanimation Library

By: Sarah Gray

While the Reanimation Library Carlisle Branch may be gone, it has left a creative mark on the art students of Dickinson College. The month-long exhibit in the Goodyear Gallery featured books found by Minnesota native Andrew Beccone, who has spent the last nine years creating a collection of books to provide source material for himself as an artist and his friends. From there, the collection grew into the full-blown library it is today in an art space called Proteus Gowanus in Brooklyn, New York.

Beccone created the Carlisle Branch in the Goodyear gallery over the summer, finding forgotten books at small shops around Central Pennsylvania. The books were then displayed, and could be scanned and copied at a computer in the gallery, allowing students to use the exhibit as part of their artwork. Beccone provided material that could be used as inspiration or taken strait from the books and incorporated into a piece through collage or transfer techniques.  However, as Beccone brought up his talk at the end of the exhibit, this brings up copyright issues.

At what point does the material become part of the art and no longer a reference to the original text?  Beccone quoted Lewis Hyde’s most recent book, Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership, and made the point that the youth are taught a media biased language that can never be theirs because of copyrights.  I feel as though the point of Beccone’s work is to give the rights of our modern language back to artists. The books might be copyrighted, but through the creative process they become our own, and in a way memorialize books that in many cases would have been forgotten.

The Reanimation Library is an amazing commentary not just on the forgotten discarded books that make up its collection, but also the modern world’s need to attribute a source to every movement a person makes, and prevent anyone from doing the same.  This removes the legal ties allowing art students to simply express themselves.