Aeromoto: sharing is better
Aeromoto started two years ago with a small idea – a group of friends living in Mexico City wanted to combine their personal libraries and share them with other interested people. It’s now grown into a thriving self-organised communal public library specialising in visual arts and contemporary culture, a place for people to read and interact, and a venue for collaboratively making ‘neologisms, presentations of books, readings in loud voices, workshops, patches and meetings’ that articulate ‘a network of experiences that dissolve and give way to another possibility’.
There’s even a little garden permanently installed in the parking space out the front.
The project is collectively-run by volunteers who all have day jobs, so keeping the space open 5 days a week is a perennial challenge. The collection is made up of material selected by Aeromoto’s founders, members, collaborators and users; of course there are many books but also audio, catalogues, postcards, posters and other ephemera. There are also Books in Residence, temporarily loaned to the library by their owners for periods upwards of 2 months.
Aeromoto’s category headings include the very lovely Tropismos, Revolutions, Art and Archive, Concrete Poetry, Cooperation, Forms of Dialogue Alternative economies, Civil Power, Independent Mexican Publishers, Experimental Editions, Books about Books, Antilibro, Libraries, Borders, The Heraclitus River Literature, Sound of Mexico, Slow books, Erotic Solar Poetry…
Unlike many self-managed little libraries, this one lends to members. There are 3 subscription levels, determining how many books you can take out each week. Each book is coded according to its status, there are some that can only be read onsite, or borrowed for shorter periods. They’re also marked with their original owner, so you can see whose library it comes from.
This idea of open, curated bookshelves is expanded in two special acquisition projects, funded by grants from private foundations and a crowdsourcing campaign: Mesa Curada (Curated tables) and Pedagogias. In the first, particular people from the world of publishing or contemporary art are invited to make a selection of either their favourite printed material that Aeromoto then acquires and displays on a shelf together. These become a part of the permanent collection and like everything else, can be borrowed. Each also forms the starting point for a series of public events. Similarly in Pedagogias, teachers or other people working with pedagogies select a set of books for students as an alternative to the institutional libraries.
In their own words: “Aeromoto is a cloud or a sugar cube lying on the top of a bar mat. … We propose a public and common book circulation; a time of shared use that contravenes the privatization of life. An anti-capitalist dynamic that generates social relations on a small scale. We fight for the time that books demand. In an era of hypervelocity, we propose, from the rearguard, serenity. … Aeromoto is both an archive of the present and a space for the present. Aeromoto is our permanent resistance. … Aeromoto is a joint effort or it is not. We want the free and infinite circulation of knowledge, the mental revolutions produced by art and culture, a world in which things do not belong to anybody, ideas do not belong to anybody, everything exists to be used by everybody. A world where beings care for each other. Aeromoto is an airquake.” Hell yes.