In the classroom...

Bennington Bookmarks were created in a unique collaboration among Visual Arts faculty member Robert Ransick, Computing faculty member Joe Holt and students enrolled in their course "The Augmented Library: A Site Specific Installation" during the 2007 and 2008 academic year.

During the Fall 2007 term, the class studied artistic precedents from Robert Smithson to Fred Wilson to Greyworld; read texts including Jorge Borges's "Library of Babel," Adam Greenfield's "Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing," and Erving Goffman's "Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order," among others; closely examined and mapped library usage; looked at precedents among other libraries, including the Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle Public Library; and brainstormed ways to encourage new interactions in the library, focusing on books and our love of them. Bennington Bookmarks was conceived during this time, after which a paper prototype was produced and tested with an external audience.

During the Spring 2008 term, the class produced Bennington Bookmarks. Logistically complex, the project required expertise across design (brand, interface, user experience, web, furniture, and 3D modeling), computer programming (interface, database integration, and microcontroller), cabinet making, rapid prototyping, sewing, and embroidery. The class self-identified individual strengths and interests, which resulted in two teams: one focused on technology and the other on design. These efforts are now permanently installed in Bennington College's Crossett Library.

This artwork is completely open source and available for anyone to adopt under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Please visit the DIY section of this website for more information.

Students:

Ben Choiniere, Psychology and Visual Arts, Design team
Adam Freed (Fall), Psychology and Visual Arts
Jess Funston, Visual Arts and Computing, Technology team
Rebecca Grabman, Visual Arts, Technology team
Jason Irla, Visual Arts, Design team
David Meresman, History, Design team
Luce de Palchi, Architecture and Art History, Technology team
Kyle Schroeder, Architecture and Music Production, Design team
Hannah Wolfe, Visual Arts, Technology team

Original Course Description, fall 2007:

The Crossett Library is the site for this year-long creative exploration into how technology can enhance, augment, or change the dynamics of interacting with the architecture, information and occupants of the space. During the fall term we will critically investigate current library usage and explore scenarios that draw upon or are inspired by RFID, touch screens, ambient informatics, social networking, location awareness, open source, data mining, mixed reality and others. You need not be an artist, computer programmer or technologist to participate meaningfully in this course. Students who possess skills and knowledge from the following discipline areas are especially encouraged to participate: Digital Arts, Computing, Psychology, Architecture, Anthropology.

The course, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is a collaboration among faculty, staff, and students. Research and work will lead towards the creation of new and innovative library experiences. Part 2 takes place during the Spring 2008 term and will focus on the production of the conceived ideas.