March 20 –
July 31, 2020
The Wattis has postponed events in March 2020 as part of the ongoing response to the evolving COVID–19 outbreak. Please check back at a later date for updates.


Using a set of scores or performance instructions that riff on the traditions of musical notation, conceptual art, constrained writing techniques, and recreational mathematics, Kameelah Janan Rasheed’s Scoring the Stacks encourages participants to explore San Francisco libraries, bookshops, and collections in unconventional ways. Seeking opportunities to map generative relationships between wide-ranging ideas, words, objects, and experiences, this participatory intervention suggests the precarity of fixed knowledge and considers the process of learning to be a leaky endeavor.

Scoring the Stacks draws inspiration from Rasheed’s intuitive art-making process and the idea of “primitive hypertext.” Coined by science-fiction writer Octavia Butler, the term 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.

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.

Previously presented at the Brooklyn Public Library and Haverford College, in this third iteration Rasheed asks, “How do we challenge individual archives as authoritative holders of knowledge? In what ways can a dispersed/non-centralized archive offer new readings of past, present, and future?"

Kameelah Janan Rasheed is a Brooklyn-based learner from East Palo Alto, CA. In her work, she inquires about the deeply intertwined spiritual, socio-political, ecological, and cognitive processes of learning/unlearning. Rasheed has exhibited at the 2017 Venice Biennale, ICA Philadelphia, Pinchuk Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, New Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Bronx Museum, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and The Kitchen, among others. She is the author of two artist books: No New Theories (Printed Matter, 2019) and An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations (Endless Editions, 2019). Rasheed is currently on the faculty of the MFA Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts, NYC.

This is the eighth event in our year-long season dedicated to the questions posed by the work of Trinh T. Minh-ha and how they address art, culture, and society today.

Scoring the Stacks: Kameelah Janan Rasheed (POSTPONED)

March-July 2020


Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Borges, Musa, and Khidir, 2019. Archival Inkjet Print.
Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Borges, Musa, and Khidir, 2019. Archival Inkjet Print.