Charlie Macquarie and the Psychic Adventure Library

Charlie Macquarie is an archivist and artist formerly of Nevada, now resident of Bay Area. He has an awesomely titled library-archive project called: A Library of Approximate Locations and Location Approximations through the Arid States. Before that it was called the Psychic Adventure Library and before that The Area States Adventure Library. Being so great at naming things also explains his general interest and talent in all things cataloguing and taxonomy in general.

I was really lucky to have a long rave with Charlie about his cataloguing/mobile library project while visiting Prelinger Library in San Francisco.

The website is image rich with his excellent photography. Images compelled Charlie to make a library in the first place, and this is combined with a poetic-cataloguing system accompanying each image.

tumblr_noz5wsDD4y1qe9jbio1_1280Nevada Place Collection, ID: NP2014-009.01

Title: Laser Range, Naval Air Station Fallon

Dangers: faded, years, just over the rise

Water_vicinity: Stinking Springs

Coordinates: 39.17635°, -118.73655°

Wind_type: the winter kind; kind of swelling eardrums; kindness of steam rising from shadow at the foot of the mountain; kind of like; the time one butterfly came to me from too far; of snow swirling through the distant sunlight; kind of cold up there

Charlie talks about catalogue systems as “something that feels like you always wanna take liberty with it because cataloguing is such an exacting activity.”  Charlie refers to the Marc 21 – the data transmission standard for the original machine readable cataloguing of books. Each field or metadata is represented by a number and if you are a really good “cataloguer” you probably know all those fields off by heart. Charlie’s not quite there yet. But he has license enough to muck around with the system, incorporating geographic coordinates as part of his “metadata” in a poetic description that mixes useful and useless/excess metadata.

Whilst the catalogue lives online, the idea is spatial and Charlie plans to expand the project into staging temporary nomadic library installations in remote desert regions as well.