A Living Index, Regina Agu, Houston, TX
limited edition book, reading group, photographs

A Living Index is an experimental index of the Elsewhere Living Library collection. The index consists of keywords, text excerpts, image reproductions, and photographs of found objects. It is an investigation of the American imagination and ideologies across different slices of time as evidenced in the collection. In addition to the index document, the project includes a reading group and photographs of temporary interventions in the library archive.

For the experimental text, A Living Index, Regina Agu surveyed over 600 books in Elsewhere’s collection to create a subjective record of these sources based on their titles, tables of contents and indices. A Living Index brings themes of gender, race, and imperialism to the foreground, highlighting the cultural politics that inform this collection. The index  functions simultaneously as a portrait of the store owner who collected these books for sale, of the society which produced them, and of Agu, who frames and represents these records.  

Along with the text, Agu, created a series of photographs in which she temporarily inserted books from the personal libraries of others into the collection. These loaned books came from attendees of a book group she hosted while on site that was focused on subaltern challenges to the archive.

Please visit the artist’s blog for detailed processes and updates.