Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Scoring the Stacks

Central Library
Opening Event: Saturday, January 12, 2-4pm. Register here.

Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist and 2019 Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Kameelah Janan Rasheed's Scoring the Stacks is a sprawling participatory public art exhibition and artist-led workshop series at Brooklyn Public Library. The project features a series of performance scores and visual art throughout Central branch as a means to experiment with different modes of learning and unlearning. Embracing chance, inquiry, and open-endedness as opportunities to grapple with our relationships to ways of knowing, Scoring the Stacks asks us to explore learning and the library through wandering and play. A commissioned 120-foot site-specific photomural on the balcony of the Library’s Grand Lobby introduces visitors to the Scoring the Stacks experience.

At the heart of Scoring the Stacks are a series of scores, or language-based artworks drawing on the traditions of musical notation, conceptual art, and constrained writing techniques. Rasheed’s scores invite participants to widely interpret a set of instructions as they roam the library space. Located in the middle of the Grand Lobby at Central branch, the scores, crafted for each division of the library, appear on brightly-colored cards with simple instructions that use chance-based pathways through the library’s stacks, collections, and books. Participants leave behind carbon copies of their notations and gather together the cards in a folio to take away and keep.

To complement the individual performance of the scores are a set of public programs. These public programs invite participants into a collaborative environment to create music lyrics, compose dance choreography, and to write flash fiction using the collected score contributions of public participants.

Scoring the Stacks draws inspiration from Rasheed’s intuitive art-making process and the idea of “primitive hypertext.” The term, coined by science-fiction writer Octavia Butler, describes a state of mind at once attentive and meandering, non-linear and associative, and full of possibility. To engage in “primitive hypertext” is to seek out the generative relationships between wide ranging ideas, words, objects, and experiences. To engage in “primitive hypertext” is to develop an ever-agile ecosystem of ideas.

PROGRAMS (Click Links for more info and to Register)

Opening Event: Engage with the artist before and after you score the stacks.

From Score to Speculative Lit with Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Writer Anaïs Duplan: Write poetry, prose and flash fiction from found text.

Score goes Pop! with Artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed & Morgan Bassichis: Come make a pop song! Mad Libs meets Karaoke with piano accompaniment.

From Score to Choreography with Artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed & brASS Burlesque: Turn words into dance steps. All bodies welcome.

Artist Walk with Kameelah Janan Rasheed

‘This is Not an Artist Talk’/ Reflections on Scoring the Stacks with Kameelah Janan Rasheed


About the Artist

Kameelah Janan Rasheed (b. 1985, East Palo Alto CA and based in Brooklyn, NY) is the 2019 Katowitz Radin Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Public Library. Rasheed is an artist and learner seeking to make her thinking visible through an ecosystem of iterative projects such as “architecturally-scaled collages,” (Frieze Magazine, Winter 2018), poems/poetic gestures/words in the proximity of poems, long-form essays, publications, large-scale public works, digital archives, teaching, curriculum development, lecture performances, stand-up comedy, and other forms yet to be determined. Her past work has been presented at the 2017 Venice Biennale, Contemporary Art Gallery of Vancouver, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Kitchen, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Institute of Contemporary Art - Philadelphia, Printed Matter, Jack Shainman Gallery, Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum, Queens Museum, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and elsewhere. Rasheed is on the faculty of the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts and also works full-time as a social studies curriculum developer for New York public schools. She holds a BA in Public Policy and Africana Studies from Pomona College (2006) and an M.A in Secondary Social Studies Education from Stanford University (2008).

Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Scoring the Stacks is made possible by the Katowitz Radin Endowment, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, women.nyc and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


To return to the Exhibitions Index page, please click here.

Preview the Exhibit