Cambridge Library of the Great Silence

Can objects be catalysts for change? Cambridge artist Robert Good goes in search of transformational objects that may help us to think differently about the world around us.

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Episodes

Jonathon Keats

Tuesday Apr 11, 2023

Tuesday Apr 11, 2023

Library founder and Chief Terrestrial Librarian Jonathon Keats reflects on some of the objects in the Cambridge Branch.
Image credit: Vincenzo Mancuso
Links:
www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
Music: X3nus

The Silent Drum

Tuesday Apr 04, 2023

Tuesday Apr 04, 2023

Dr Ayesha Fuentes, researcher in conservation at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, tells the story of a drum from Uganda and its many transformations. She talks about the difficulties of trying to look after a collection of over 300,000 objects, and why it is not always as easy as it might seem to repatriate those that need to be returned.
The Baganda drum. Image credit: Eleanor Beestin-Sheriff/MAA
Links:
https://collections.maa.cam.ac.uk/objects/525670
https://maa.cam.ac.uk/whats_on/exhibitions/spotlight-stores-move
www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
Music: X3nus

The Coffee Cup

Saturday Apr 01, 2023

Saturday Apr 01, 2023

Mark Pinkerton, risk systems specialist at Risilience, discusses the transformative power of caffeine and calculates the carbon footprint from his coffee habit, with surprising results. Mark also discusses his work in catastrophe modelling and trying to predict the risks and consequences of climate change. 
Links:
www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
Music: X3nus

Wednesday Mar 29, 2023

Rosanna Greaves, artist and Senior Lecturer at Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, shares two objects of personal significance - her own positive pregnancy test, and her father's box camera.
 
Links:
https://rosannagreaves.com/
www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
Music: X3nus

The Charnia fossil

Thursday Mar 23, 2023

Thursday Mar 23, 2023

Dr Emily Mitchell, Curator of Invertebrates at the Museum of Zoology and co-director of the Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe, shares a cast of a 500 million-year-old Charnia fossil. The fossil was first found by schoolchildren in Leicestershire in the 1950s and Emily explains how it transformed our understanding of evolution.
Emily also explains how the science behind her work contributes not only to current efforts to preserve our marine ecosystems but also to the search for exoplanetary life elsewhere in the universe.
Links:
www.deeptimeecology.org
www.deeptimeecology.org/ediacaran-fossils
https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/charnia-masoni-holotype-f93cb4393da3443fab6533e9ae8438c6 
www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
Music: X3nus

Monday Mar 20, 2023

Simon Stoddart, Professor in Prehistory and Fellow of Magdalene College, selects not one but three items for inclusion into the Library.
They range from three to approximately 100,000 years in age, and each one provides a different insight into the transformative power of objects.
The Xagħra Twin Seated Figure
Stone, Red Ochre
Xagħra Circle, Gozo, Malta
3600–2500 BCE
Ġgantija Temples Visitor Centre Heritage Malta
www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
Music: X3nus

Thursday Mar 16, 2023

Dr Anita Herle, Senior Curator at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, describes a 19th century Amazonian headdress and discusses tapirage, a remarkable technique used by numerous Amazonian groups to change the colour of feathers on living parrots.
The parrot feather headdress is currently on display as part of COLOUR: Art, Science & Power at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.  Open until 23 April.  Free entry.  Opening hours 10am - 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and 12 - 5pm on Sundays.
Amazonian Feathered Headdress
19th century, Rio Cadereyta Brazil, Munduruku people.  
Ht. 53cm.
The golden feathers were produced by tapirage.  
MAA E 1903.442.
Anita Herle and Robert Good by the headdress
www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
Music: X3nus

Welcome to The Library

Thursday Mar 16, 2023

Thursday Mar 16, 2023

Join Cambridge artist and podcaster Robert Good on his search for objects of transformational change. 
www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
Music: X3nus

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About the Library

The Library of the Great Silence is a unique research facility founded by the San Francisco conceptual artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats and dedicated to examining existential risks of the present, and to facilitating discussion about future flourishing, by investigating societal transformations from the past. 

Instead of shelving books, the Library collects objects, each of which is open to interpretation by everyone. Objects are chosen based on their pivotal significance. Examples include stone tools, coins, and silicon microchips. 

For the Cambridge Festival 2023, a Cambridge branch of the Library will exhibit crowd-sourced objects at the Alison Richard Building, CU Sedgwick Site, Cambridge.

www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/sites/the-library-of-the-great-silence
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Further Information

Library of the Great Silence main website: www.seti.org/library-great-silence

Chief Terrestrial Librarian: Jonathon Keats

Library Assistants: Robert Good, Judith Weik (Art at the ARB, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities)

Music: X3nus

Part of the 2023 Cambridge Festival

Photography courtesy of Jonathon Keats and Modernism Inc., San Francisco.

Copyright 2023 All rights reserved.

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