IMD x KB - Open Digital Libraries

Books Make Friends

alba amicorum 2021-2022
'Quattuor Amicis' project by Interactive Media Design, BA

On Monday, 21 February 2022, second year students of the Interactive/Media/Design (IMD) bachelor's programme at the KABK participated in the kick-off of another semester-long collaboration with the National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek).

The collaboration between the KABK and the KB uses the alba amicorum (friendship books) as a case study for developing a product/installation/public program/workshop format, that could be a step closer to a method for making the digitised (and also physical) collection easier and more attractive to access by a wider audience.

Quattuor Amicis

The students of Interactive/Media/Design were divided in 4 groups, each making a prototype according to the assignment, where they investigated various aspects of the historic alba amicorum and their interconnectivity to our present society. On May 24th they presented their results in an exhibition at the KB-atelier.

By balancing the digital and the physical forms of expression, the works „Novi Nexus“, „Traces“, „Vester Album Experientia“ and „Nothing without Virtue“ delve into diverse stories of the alba collection through a critical lens.

Their process is documented and accessible via the Open Digital Libraries (ODL) updates.

Final projects

These four projects hope to create an incentive on how library collections, in this case the collection of alba amicorum, can function as a source of inspiration for new cultural creativity.

Minji Cha, Vanessa Trinidad Riedmann, Julie Goslinga, Maya Staendeke

"NOVUS NEXUS creates a contemporary Alba Amicorum for the National Library of The Hague through personalised entries built in a responsive environment, emphasizing the interconnectivity, socio-cultural behavior and transformation from traditional to digital. NOVUS NEXUS directly translates to new connections. Where historically the Alba Amicorum were a collection of people of importance, this new archive is a unique collection of everyone passing through, at this point in time."

Photos: Roel Backaert

Atha Lens, Ela Oudhof, Jess Varghese, Tara Monheim

"All those who have walked this Earth have left traces behind of their experiences, thoughts, relationships, and their very existence. Those who used the alba were going through similar stages of life as current university students, and wanted to find their place in society. We want to bring the alba amicorum’s hidden stories to the youth of today through all our senses."

Photos: Roel Backaert

Sorin Angeleanou, Lakshmi Vidyasagar, Anouschka Vreeswijk, Nine de Wit

Our goal is to develop a project that hopes to bring new generation of artists more closely to the ageing one.

Photos: Roel Backaert

Ilva Nieuwstraten, Cherry Kim, Viktoria Arvayo Arvayova, Zoë Kustner

"What does virtue mean to you?
Virtue for us means worth, decency, goodness and honesty.
Inspired by Hiskia’s motto in her Alba, we wanted to investigate how virtue has changed its meaning throughout the history and most importantly, what it means to live with virtue today.
Besides being friendship book, female albas have served as a forum for discussions and have been filled with flowing conversations by people around them. By collecting firsthand experiences from those who could share with us how our society shaped and influenced their way of thinking and living, we wanted to reconnect with the past and continue to question our own virtue as well as reflect on what it represents in society today.
As young members of society, we still resonate with the bias and inequality that people of color, women and queers face everyday and we cease to inherit and distinguish ourselves from that past. Therefore we created an alternative Alba that is not curated, ugly and messy, that holds as much historical value as a regular Alba that was neatly and made
pretty for the eyes of the privileged."

Photos: Roel Backaert

Credits / thanks to

National Library of the Netherlands (KB)
Rianne Koning
Jessica Wevers
Ron Hol
Jeroen Vandommele
Olaf Janssen
Annemarie Beunen
Loes van Eijk

Students
Sorin Angeleanou
Viktoria Arvayo Arvayova
Minji Cha
Julie Goslinga
Cherry Kim
Zoë Kustner
Atha Lens
Tara Monheim
Ilva Nieuwstraten
Ela Oudhof
Maya Staendeke
Vanessa Trinidad Riedmann
Jess Varghese
Lakshmi Vidyasagar
Anouschka Vreeswijk
Nine de Wit

Photographer
Roel Backaert