Library Excavations and the Love of Print with Marc Fischer
Interview for Sixty Inches From Center
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a lover of libraries, archives, and printed matter more devoted than Marc Fischer. He’s known for a long practice of discovering, creating, and distributing books and ephemera, making him a regular at libraries and post offices throughout the city. It’s practices like Fischer’s, which pays close attention to how, why, and what libraries, museums and archives collect, that have served as inspiration for the work that we at Sixty do, as well as our focus and approach. In 2007, he founded Public Collectors, a project that uses publishing and exhibitions to give glimpses into people’s personal collections–ones that usually go unseen. Prior to that, he and Brett Bloom founded Temporary Services, a project started in 1998 which also holds under its umbrella Half Letter Press, whose publications I’ve come across in Los Angeles, New York, London, and many bookstores in between.
But his commitment to printed matter in a time of digital dominance isn’t exactly what makes these projects get the notice that they have over the years. It’s the strength of the content and Fischer’s ability to shine a light on things we often don’t pay much attention to, never knew existed, or often take for granted.
This is certainly the case with Public Collectors’ latest publications, Library Excavations, which is an ongoing series of booklets created from content found on the shelves, in the stacks, or in the archives of the Chicago Public Libraries. The first four forefront topics that lie just below the surface of things that confront and concern us everyday–incarceration, the music industry, racial biases and profiling–but presented in a way that minimizes a heavy-handed or swayed contextualization, allowing for the content to speak, pretty loudly, for itself. Even with these four publications that alone have so much to say, Fischer took some time to explain his process for selecting the content of each book and why he finds such value in libraries and repositories.
Read the full interview with Marc here...
Photo Credit (top to bottom):
[1-4] All images from the Library Excavations series of publications by Marc Fischer. Courtesy of Half Letter Press.