World Premiere | CAC Commission
In partnership with The Mercantile Library
Special Collections: Reflections on the Mercantile Library (2022), an unorthodox audio tour of Cincinnati’s famed Mercantile Library, takes listeners on a contemplative journey through the institution’s collection. Focused through an anthropological lens and presented in the form of an audiobook, this piece surveys the human epoch—from the myths of our creation to the realities of our impending demise. Couched within this investigation is an acknowledgment of the most significant mark humanity will leave behind: our collective knowledge.
Special Collections: Reflections on the Mercantile Library explores the notion of an ideal standard by which cultural products are measured, valued, and conserved. It examines the objects and ideas we decide to canonize, the injustices that often impact these decisions, and our inventions of preservation that will ultimately lead to our destruction. Utilizing the library as a mirror, we can see ourselves within the fruits of our labor and curiously ask in the manner of Paul Gauguin, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897-98).
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Mercantile Library, 414 Walnut Street, #1100, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Special Collections: Reflections on the Mercantile Library is commissioned by the Contemporary Arts Center and the Mercantile Library
writer, artist, and producer: Britni Bicknaver
text editor: Miles Turner
music: Britni Bicknaver and Brianna Kelly
music arrangement and performance: Brianna Kelly "Across the Universe" performance: Doug McDiarmid "Across the Universe"
writer: John Lennon
sound design: Britni Bicknaver
card design: Paul Coors
Chapter 1 read by: R.E. Harter
Chapter 2 read by: Liam Jefferies
Chapter 3 read by: Raya Martin
Chapter 4 read by: Lucy Smith
Chapter 5 read by: Ozzie Wilson
Chapter 6 read by: Patrice Smith
Chapter 7 read by: Yvette Smith
Chapter 8 read by: Noah Kershisnik
Chapter 9 read by: Josselyn Cambridge
Chapter 10 read by: Joe Bedell Roman
Senator Cassius played by: Peter Coates
American Patriot played by: Bill Shanks
Isabella Jones Beecher played by: Erika Lee
BRITNI BICKNAVER is an artist, amateur vacalist, history buff, and a seventh-generation Cincinnatian. A member of the storied Publico Gallery, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.
Traditionally trained in sculpture and drawing, Bicknaver also works in the medium of sound, creating pieces from audio tours to pop songs. Her work is fueled by concepts such as history, arcane information, vulnerability, and the revelation of inner worlds.