As I sit on a bench in the small ICI garden, feet from busy Robertson Blvd, I can’t help but wonder at this small oasis. Indeed it is a term that can just as easily apply to the ICI as a whole. It has been a haven for me, a place where I was introduced to ideas and ways of seeing the world that I had not considered before.
With the Forget Foucault project, the ICI challenged me to reconsider not simply who is remembered, but why, and how? It is a challenge to a conventional way of thinking all at once so simple, and so striking, that I was struck by how it had so utterly slipped my notice. It was not the first time I would think that as I had the pleasure to sift through, and catalog, just a small sample of what the ICI Library has to offer.
As a part of my work I saw and read books filled with ideas and people that last fall I could scarcely have imagined. It gave me the chance to live on the periphery, catching glimpses of worlds, of realities, of truths that I have hardly begun to understand. To this end the ICI’s presence sends out a small beacon of light when it would be so much easier to get lost in the chaos and the darkness. So…
“…with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving dark though it is”
-Excerpt from “Thanks” by W.S. Merwin
With these words I give my thanks to the director of the ICI Lise Patt and ICI Archivist Fellow Jojo Black for sharing your time and wisdom with me these past few months. No matter how small, and however easily lost in the chaos around us, they are given with a deep sense of gratitude. As I move away from my days spent here amongst the books, the ephemera, but most importantly the people, I do so with the understanding that I am not leaving them behind, but carrying them with me.