The "bootleg library" is a particular, situated social infrastructure. It operates from the understanding that the library is a collection; a collection of the texts contained within it, and of the readers collected around them. A reciprocal, self-reflexive relationship between the texts and the readers produces sociability. A bootleg is a homage, an unauthorised copy of a source publication; bootlegging is a strategy by which texts acquire diversity, resisting singularity and representing readers.
A physical, travelling collection stored in a former wine box, a digital collection on a self-hosted server, and moments when readers come together create the conditions for producing texts; by bootlegging, uploading, editing, meeting in small rooms, in small groups, and annotating the collection.
Tasks of the Contingent Librarian, a text written, edited and performed together, comprises an index of tasks (e.g. bootlegging, reading/writing, amateuring, making it public/keeping it private, etc.) defined through the particular activities of the bootleg library. This text is published in several different forms, printed and digital, including a hyperlinked version on this website. Although the way they are written or read may vary, each text bears resemblance to the others; "originals" and "copies" alike.
[Simon Browne, the bootleg library, 2020. Rotterdam]. This work has been generously supported by the Ian Potter Cultural Trust. Special thanks and gratitude to the XPUB staff and students, the Piet Zwart Institute, Onomatopee Projects, de Appel and Varia. License — Copyleft: This is a free work. You can copy, distribute, and modify it under the terms of the Free Art License