CLA Snapshot Day - Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Docents

Uploaded by sjplvideo on 18.11.2011

>> MICKEY BENSON: My name is Mickey Benson, and I'm a docent for the library, that is,
I give tours of the art.
There's thirty-four different art installations throughout this building.
Two percent of the cost of the building goes into art. Most of them put up, like, a statue
or a fountain or something like this, but we wanted art that spoke to us about the books.
We wanted homage to our books.
Now, when we decided to have art in the library, we had an international competition to find
the artist that would be best suited for what we really wanted, and we found him.
His name was Mel Chin, and he was based in New York, and he is a collaborative artist
and a conceptual artist.
Now, this is called "Migration." There are 1,582 butterflies throughout the library.
It is a homage to our Latino authors. Now, as you see, it goes up on the wall and it
goes all the way up to the eighth floor, down to the lower level, and they migrate into
the library.
These butterflies are anatomically correct. These were made in China from Mel Chin's specifications.
It's a material called zanic, made of aluminum, magnesium, copper and zinc.
And they were installed May of 2007, and like I like to say, it's one of my favorites.
>> NANCY FREEMAN: After we get to the eighth floor, we're going to go down to the second
floor because I want to show you something very special down there. Something that's
very light-hearted and amusing, but very practical at the same time.
Now I know I've mentioned at a few other pieces that this is one of my favorites. Well, this
is really one of my favorites. Now this is called "Roundup."
There are eighty-one chairs on the second floor and, you know, they sort of look like
the other chairs but you can see they're made out of leather.
And I always tell people, you know, if you're going to be coming to the library and working
for a considerable amount of time, these chairs are so comfortable because they're a little
more cushioned. They give a little more.
So, and you'll notice on the chairs, they have a marking on them.
What do they look like?
[group answers]
Brand! Boy, we've got a smart group of ladies here.
Do you know what these brands are from?
Now, the artist researched this area and they found a listing of the brands from the Mexican
ranchos because this area, you know, a long time ago, did belong to Mexico.
And so he found a list from 1827 of all these brands in the Santa Clara Valley, so, basically
in our area. And so there are eighty-one chairs, and they made branding irons, one for each
one of the brands.
So now I want one of you to each sit in one of the chairs. Come sit down! Be my guest!
Okay, comfortable, aren't they? Okay, so now when you sit down, where did that brand come
up? Where does that -- where -- you're sitting on it --
[group answers]
The left flank! We call it the left flank, and that's exactly where they branded the
cattle -- on the left flank. So consider yourself branded!
Your souvenir of your visit to the library. So it's another example of Mel Chin's environmental,
artist approach to things and a bit of whimsy.
Because who would've thought you'd come to the library and be able to sit on a piece
of art?