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the buildup to an exhibit

A section of the image: to see the full image and find out more about participating yourself, click on this image.

A section of the image: to see the full image and find out more about participating yourself, click on this image.

The entries for our Eye of the Beholder exhibit are starting to trickle in.  Which is good, since earlier this week we had none and were beginning to wonder if we’d have anything to exhibit.  The nature of deadlines and academic institutions, probably.  It’s hard not to hand things in at the last minute.  And I do it too, so I totally understand. (this is Arlene, by the way.)

It’s shaping up to be a great exhibit.  We’ve received two prose interpretations from two very different perspectives, a poem, a composite photograph, and today, in came a piece that in cataloging terms would be called realia, but I’ve taken to calling a treasure box.  You’ll be amazed.  We’re not sure yet how we’ll ever really represent it in the digital version of the exhibit, but we’ll try.  We have promises from several other people that more will appear and no doubt some more entries will come in that we never even expected (like the treasure box.)

Doing participatory exhibits has its downsides.  The waiting for entries to appear, wondering if they will appear.  The second-guessing of the photograph I chose, wondering if it will really speak to anybody.   The bit after the materials have come in and we suddenly remember we still have to print out the text versions and mount them on backing.  The logistics of putting up an exhibit that is largely two-dimensional when our exhibit boards are already in use for a different exhibit elsewhere in the library.   (We still haven’t figured out this one yet but no doubt we’ll come up with something.)

But the upsides are so wonderful: participants provide us with perspectives and views and an occasional physical interpretation that never would have occurred to us.  It’s like unwrapping a little present every time somebody walks in or an email arrives with an entry.  We never know what we’re going to get, who could predict?

Well, in another week you’ll be able to come in and see.  And if you can’t come in, be reassured that we’ll be working on a web version to go up (hopefully quicker than last year’s EOTB) so that even if you can’t come in and touch the contents of the treasure box, you can at least get a visual of what all of our participants have brought to this photograph.

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