Alba Amicorum [2022]

A cooperation of the National Library of the Netherlands [KB] and the Royal Academy of Art [KABK], The Hague.

16 second year students of the Interactive / Media / Design [IMD] department developed interactive spatial experiences for the visitors of the KB by exploring the unique collection of the alba amicorum collection. These are friendship books from the 16th century and later, which can be seen as the precursors of today’s social media.

From digital archives to artworks

How may historical materials like newspapers and aerial photographs inspire artists?

The second ONB Labs Web Residency ran from April 2022 until the end of June. Two residents engaged with historical materials in two very different formats. Both will be presented in the ONB Labs Artspace in September 2022.

In April 2022 the ONB Labs launched a call for two Web Residencies to support artistic engagement with digitized archival resources. For the call two very different datasets were offered, issues of the “Wiener Zeitung”, one of the oldest newspapers worldwide, on the one hand and a collection of aerial photographs from the first half of the 20th century on the other.
The call was open for all genres whether physical and/or digital, poetical, visual, audio or any other genre that can be presented in a web browser.

We were impressed by the wide range of different applications we received. For the selection the ONB Labs team cooperated with two artists, Seth Weiner and Heike Fiedler, who work in different fields, and enriched the selection process with their different viewpoints. Taking into consideration a set of criterias, like innovation, feasibility and critical impetus among others, two applications were finally chosen for a funding.

The Berlin based artist Sînziana Păltineanu handed in a proposal for a “piece of interactive ficition, based on a selective reading of the digital collection of “Wiener Zeitung”, titled “Anachronistic rotations”. Over the course of the residency Sînziana Păltineanu further expanded the concept to a fictious walk through the “Wiener Zeitung”. Sînziana Păltineanu is – as noted in the application – interested in using fiction as an exploratory mode of writing based on archival research. Curator Seth Weiner was convinced by the idea as well as the use of the web browser for the narrative structure of the artwork. Heike Fiedler noted that “the experimental author Dr. Sînziana Păltineanu will take us into hidden spaces, going far beyond the one-dimensional aspect of words written on paper.”

The Vienna based artist Ida Westh-Hansen won the second residency for her concept on melting snippets from the public archive in an artwork of mixed materials, namely ceramics and paper. Her artwork may be interpreted as a stage for a “drama with landscapes and places”. Seth Weiner was “taken by the sculptural sensibility” shown in her portfolio and by the way “the work seems to operate with an acute sense of how material, both in its heaviness and fragility tells stories.” How Ida Westh-Hansen would combine the different materials and then translate the material artwork to a series of digital images, was promising for Heike Fiedler.

The ONB Labs Team will now integrate both artworks into the ONB Labs Artspace. The results will be presented in September. Watch out for the upcoming blog post on open-digital-libraries.nl as well as on labs.onb.ac.at.

Springtime is the right time for exchange

In Vienna ODL project members exchanged ideas and good laughs

In May ODL project teams gathered in Vienna for a workshop

Finally, after a long pandemic the teams gathered on site in Vienna. On the 17th and 18th of May, ODL team members from the KB and the Estonian National Library visited the Austrian National Library for a two-days workshop.
The workshop format offered the possibility to apply different tools from the design thinking and gamestorming toolbox in order to reflect upon our work accomplished and the steps ahead.
“Learning from each other” is a core “brick of ODL”. This includes not only the success stories but also challenges and pitfalls, though we are “facing similar problems”. You guess right! The “ODL tower” stood until the end.

After nearly two years of remote exchange over online applications, we really took advantage of using paper, sticky notes, whiteboards and a Jenga tower ;-).
The exchange meeting was also a good opportunity to evaluate the status at midterm and to discuss the workpackages ahead.
We are very much looking forward to the next exchange meeting at the KB!

Quattuor amicis

On Monday, May 23, the interactive exhibition «Quattuor amicis» opened in which the KB alba amicorum collection takes center stage. The temporary exhibition is a collaborative project between the KB and the KABK (Royal Academy of Art). Creative makers from the Interactive/Media/Design department therefore designed several interactive installations based on the collection. Feel, smell and experience the projects for yourself now!

The exhibition can be visited free of charge until Saturday 4 June during KB opening hours in the KB Atelier and in the Bidahal (the space upstairs and downstairs between the KB and the National Archive and the hall opposite the Museum of Literature).

Photos by Roel Backaert

Exposition «Quattuor amicis»

Announcement poster opening expo IMD

ONB Labs Web Residency 2022

Call for ONB Labs Web Residency 2022.
Deadline for submissions is 19. 04. 2022.

ONB Labs is pleased to announce our Web Residency programme 2022. The programme is part of the Open Digital Library project and funded by the European Union.
We invite artists to submit a proposal for a six-week Web Residency project related to our digital collections of “Wiener Zeitung” (1780-1881) and/or of aerial photographs from the 1930s “Österreich aus der Luft”. The proposed project should aim for a critical and creative engagement with data sets from the ONB Labs, culminating in a web-based work that will be exhibited online in the ONB Labs Artspace.

Artistic approaches of all formats, whether they might be digital, physical, sculptural, poetic or conceptual are encouraged; the only requirements are that the final result needs to be exhibited online and relates to the ONB Labs collections of the call. For further informations about collections and available data see the call on the Labs Website.

Selected projects will be supported with 850 Euro for the final artwork.

Timeline & Application

CALL OPEN UNTIL 19.04.2022
WEB RESIDENCY 02.05.2022 – 12.06.2022

Applications can be submitted as PDF to labs@onb.ac.at including.
For further details on the Call, the Selection Process and the Terms & Conditions please visit the the call on the Labs Website.

KABK Interactive/Media/Design

A sneak peek into the process of making an exposition for the KB Atelier

Group 2: Team Jeta

The students of IMD are divided in 4 groups: each group will make a prototype according to the assignment (the alba amicorum collection of the KB).

You can follow their process via these URL’s:

Group 1: https://smooth-clutch-fae.notion.site/Client-assignment-bcee7ea3843c46378411d4d4b72ae134
Group 2: https://www.notion.so/TEAM-JETA-117f694817ef4a19ab3b4b893253997d
Group 3: https://elastic-production-d21.notion.site/Group-3-2c3f42349c4444c7a376222154d74855
Group 4: https://www.notion.so/NOVUS-NEXUS-c017e0df054346edb77d088261c8c99a

Books Make Friends – The National Library of The Netherlands kicks off a second collaboration with KABK

On Monday, 21 February 2022, students from the Master Non Linear Narrative and the Bachelor Interactive / Media / Design departments of the Royal Academy of Art visited the National Library of The Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). This day we organized a kick-off for a semester-long collaboration, during which students will research the library’s comprehensive catalogue of alba amicorum (friendship books) with a view to making these resources accessible to a wider audience (like e.g. other makers, creative users). These projects are a follow-up to the project with the KABK’s IAFD department.

The kick-off started on site, with presentations by several restoration experts. These talks were followed by a guided tour of the library’s large-scale storage depot. The program was completed by talks on user accessibility within an open digital context. In order to understand the significance of the alba amicorum collection and gain insight into how archives can function as a source of inspiration for new cultural creativity, students attended presentations by Rianne Koning, Coordinator Public Programming, Jeroen Vandommele, Curator Modern Manuscripts, Sophie Reinders, Assistant Professor at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and Dick van Dijk, Creative Director at Waag Society. 

[Photo credits: Roel Backaert]

KB depot
KB restoration atelier
Presentation by Sophie Reinders
Presentation by Dick van Dijk
Presentation by Jeroen Vandommele

Friends from the past, alba amicorum [2021/2022]

A collaboration between the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) and the Royal Academy of Art (KAKB), The Hague.

15 graduating students of the Interior Architecture and Furniture Design department developed interactive spatial experiences for the visitors of the KB by exploring the unique collection of the alba amicorum, the friendship books from the 16th century and beyond, which can be seen as predecessors of today’s social media.

Film credits: Medina Resic

Friend from the past – Poster

This poster is one of the deliverables of the project with the IAFD students. All 5 projects are summarized in this poster. Credits for the production of this leaflet goes to: Tariq Heijboer & Anne van den Dool, commissioned by the National Library of The Netherlands (KB).