Our Future Libraries

  • Screenshot 2024-02-27 at 17.12.23

    Image: Anne Tetzlaff

  • Screenshot 2024-02-27 at 17.12.05

    Image: Anne Tetzlaff

  • Whitechapel Gallery_Photo credit © Anne Tetzlaff_DSC1871

    Image: Anne Tetzlaff

  • Whitechapel Gallery_Photo credit © Anne Tetzlaff_DSC2101

    Image: Anne Tetzlaff

  • Whitechapel Gallery_Photo credit © Anne Tetzlaff_DSC1921

    Image: Anne Tetzlaff

Our Future Libraries: Project (Sep – Dec 2023)

In Autumn 2023 Duchamp and Sons, Whitechapel Gallery’s Youth Collective, collaborated with Kneed, Ishwari Bhalerao and Leonie Rousham, to imagine the future of ‘the library’, drawing upon the radical history of Whitechapel Library that once stood on the site of Whitechapel Gallery’s east wing.

Throughout the project the group explored the questions: what is the future role of libraries? What systems of knowledge exchange do we need? What spaces do they occupy, what do they look, feel and sound like? What stories do they hold?

Following months of conversation, walks, banner-making, and experimentation rooted in play and storytelling, the group curated a day long takeover on 9 December 2023 of Whitechapel Gallery’s foyer, presenting their collective imaginations of Our Future Libraries.

In this takeover of Whitechapel Gallery’s foyer space, the collective presented four imagined libraries of the future and invited visitors to build upon the ideas, concepts, and stories held within them.

In The Library of Misinformation visitors were invited to share their wildest conspiracy theories, and sit and chat about sources of knowledge and resistance. In the Power to the People Library, the collective asked in a future where the internet was deleted how would we rebuild this ‘ultimate’ library? What knowledge, skills, or stories would we want to preserve and what would we leave behind?

Visitors could also pay a visit to The Childhood Emporium, and spend some time colouring at a children’s tea party where they were invited to exchange stories of their childhood with one another. And finally in The Library of Souls, you were encouraged to dive into the tale of a library where you can exchange one soul for another, and answer the question of who or what would you trade?


Contact us

E: duchampandsons@whitechapelgallery.org

Find out more

Twitter @duchampandsons
Instagram @duchampandsons


Read the Duchamp & Sons manifesto here

About Kneed

Kneed is a collaborative practice formed by artists Ishwari Bhalerao (b. Nagpur) and Leonie Rousham (b. London). We are interested in building systems of care, support and resistance where external pressures are causing these to be exhausted or lacking. In a time when the government is treating the old, sick, disabled, and working class people as disposable, it is more important than ever to collaborate, listen, learn and remember, from conversation and friendship. Thus, our workshops and studio practice focus on collectivising experiences, memories and stories around labour, time and care mobilised as tools to resist systems of oppression, exhaustion and isolation.

Kneed also exists as a walking practice, using moving image, text, textiles, performance and print processes to explore the violent histories, collective memory and political resonance of British landscapes and language.