Dark Night and Wonderland

I’ve been waxing lyrical here and on Diligent Room about the cool things that people are doing for their communities at their libraries.   What is really exciting me is finding out the philosophy behind why they are doing it – their community is changing and they are changing with it. Seeing the kaupapa shared has made me think of Dark Night and LATE.
Image by Dylan Horrocks

Image by Dylan Horrocks

Dark Night was “a guerrilla festival of burlesque, literary, and cinematic events that question, celebrate, and challenge sex and sexuality on page, stage, and screen” at Auckland Libraries in June.  It’s the kind of event series that I would have loved to have gone to – sassy, fun, informative, entertaining, better than an author talk (which, btw, I love.) It was an event that promised to discuss ideas and society’s attitudes to those ideas. The fact that it was a number of different events across the week – a film, a Q&A, a panel discussion, burlesque – only added to the appeal. The library-specific phrase that jumps out at me from @DrMattFinch‘s blog is this one:
The point is this: if libraries are “your space of imagination, learning, and connection”, that applies to every aspect of our culture.
FUCK YEAH. (Incidentally, Auckland Libraries, why do I have to go to Matt’s blog to find out about one of your events that happened less than six months ago? I know he was the instigator and organiser of the event, but…really? I am disappoint.)
Auckland Museum’s LATE series is a similar sort of thing “discussion on contemporary themes, with bands and DJs performing in the Museum’s galleries. ” I still think about ideas I heard during those discussions (from 2009!) In December 2009 I wrote “I most definitely feel more connected to the Museum through initiatives like the LATE programme.” (Sadly I think I’ve lost a bunch of blogs when I imported them from Posterous before it closed, otherwise I’d link to them. Auckland Museum has an archive of information about the series.) There was something very satisfying about listening to smart people talk about smart ideas, then wandering the Museum halls with friends discussing what we’d just heard.
Wonderland was an exhibition that opened during the LATE series. Featuring videos from Mika, that was the LATE that turned me from a non-using supporter of Auckland Museum to an enthusiastic user and Friend. I guess Wonderland is the particular exhibition that comes to mind because it was the first time I realised that I saw the museum as a place that could add value to my contemporary lifestyle. (Also sexy orchid stories.) Being able to use the museum in a different way changed the way that I related to the museum and made me want to support it.
Here are a couple of tweets about Dark Night.

Sure, these are from library staff, but I think they indicate that Dark Night could be as influential to the way people relate to the library as LATE was for me in the way I related to Auckland Museum. The themed, multi-media style of Dark Night appeals to me. I like to weave ideas, quotes, comments etc from different places into a coherent whole – Dark Night offers that to me. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I like its style – the more innovative I think it was.

I’ve been seeing a few tweets about a possible second Dark Night at Auckland Libraries. Since Dark Night “was partly intended as a more challenging riposte to those White Night cultural events cities run around the world…but…it’s the term White Night which has the truly dark pedigree”  it seems appropriate that the theme that seems to be emerging is Fear. I’ve taken to calling it Dark Night 2: The Fear in the hopes that once the event is named it will become real – even if it is by someone in the wrong city, on their personal blog.

Actually, come to think of that, maybe there’s somewhere in Wellington that might like to pick it up? National Library has a beautiful new space that could be used. Te Papa? Wellington City Libraries? The Dowse in partnership with Hutt City Libraries? Matt is freelancing currently. One of you should hire him to bring Dark Night to your place.

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3 thoughts on “Dark Night and Wonderland

  1. Thanks for the mention…You know London’s Science Museum did a adult Zombie “Lates” session that attracted 5000 people?


    I went with @louiestowell and @alexia888 and chatted with organizer David Robertson aka @davesci afterwards.

    It was epic and inspirational!

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