In times when resources are available online from anywhere, the question of the role of libraries arises anew. How can they not only serve as knowledge archives, but also support artistic knowledge production? And how can they remain relevant as a social space within an art academy? The new Extended Library at the HFBK Hamburg aims to address these questions. For this purpose, the 150 square meter foyer of the library was transformed by the Hamburg architecture firm asdfg into a transdisciplinary learning, working, and discourse space that allows learners, researchers, and visitors to experience the connection between theory and practice, production and mediation. This transformation process will be accompanied in the academic year 2023/24 by a content program that activates the space in its multiple forms and functions and develops specific offers for different user groups.
Performative forms and formats of presentation stand at the center of the Extended Library's content program. The opening event in the winter semester 2023/24 will be the series curated by Margarita Tsomou and the program by Marwa Arsanios and Lama El Khatib.
A permanent part of the Extended Library is the work Group Hug (2023) by Valentina Karga, basic professor of design at the HFBK Hamburg, which consists of various pillow objects laid out in a circle on the floor. The shapes of the pillows refer to the body of a prehistoric phi-idol from the artist's homeland, Greece. In Valentina Karga's speculative fiction, these prehistoric idols are the promise of a world where nature and culture, human and non-human exist in harmony. For the pillows, the features have been abstracted and detached from each other: they are no longer tied to a figure, but form a collective body. Sewn from natural cotton, the pillows were treated with natural pigments and dyes such as wood, eucalyptus, and dyer's madder, and are filled with wool to strive for environmentally friendly production. An earlier version of the work was part of the solo exhibition Well Beings at the Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg. The cushions were hand-dyed by textile designer Garance Maurer and produced by the upholstery company Samuel.