Pamela M. Lee
The Glen Park Library: A Fairy Tale of Disruption
Introduction by Michelle Kuo
Designed by General Working Group

In October 2013, Ross William Ulbricht, 29, was arrested at the Glen Park Public Branch Library in San Francisco, accused of being the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the mastermind of a dark net drug marketplace known as Silk Road. Art historian Pamela M. Lee reads this event as a fairy tale of disruption rather than an isolated episode in the history of the internet. Lee argues that the notion of “disruptive” technology in contemporary culture has radically affected our relationship to knowledge, history, aesthetics, reading, and truth. Against the backdrop of her account of Ulbricht and his exploits, Lee provides original readings of five women artists—Gretchen Bender, Cecile B. Evans, Josephine Pryde, Carissa Rodriguez, and Martine Syms—who weigh in, either explicitly or inadvertently, on the nature of contemporary media and technology. Written as a work of experimental art criticism, The Glen Park Library is both an homage to the Bay Area and an excoriation of the ethos of Silicon Valley. As with all fairy tales, the book’s ultimate subjects are much greater, however, and Lee casts a critical eye on collisions between privacy and publicity, knowledge and information, and the past and future that are enabled by the technocratic worldview.

ISBN 978-1-949484-02-1
Cloth, 5-1/4 x 7-1/2 in. (133 x 190 mm) / 144 pgs / full color
This title is distributed by The MIT Press
U.S. $30.00

Publication date: Spring 2019

To order the book,
click here.


contact